OTSEGO, Mich. — Just one week after tests revealed the presence of dioxins in 16 private wells just outside of the city of Otsego, city officials are in the process of conducting new water tests looking for dioxins in the water supply.
Initial tests performed back in April indicated the city's water supply was in the clear in terms of dioxins, but shortly after more sophisticated tests showed the presence of dioxins in water wells just outside the city, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) recommended new tests for the city's water supply.
"They [DEQ] said 'here's a standard dioxin drinking water test,'" recalled Otsego City Manager Aaron Mitchell, referring to the initial tests recommended by the DEQ. "I thought we were good because we tested and it came back negative...but then I was informed that it was for a different type of dioxin not tested for," he added, referring to the latest test results done on water outside the city.
According to the Allegan County Health Department, wells outside city limits tested positive for 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) and 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzofuran. A news release from the health department indicated those chemicals may have been created during paper manufacturing, once a main industry in and around Otsego.
Dioxins are chemical compounds that are widely known to be linked to disease and several cancers.Although much of West Michigan is rightfully concerned about the presence of PFAs in water supplies, environmental engineer Michael Pinto says there's plenty of evidence to suggest the presence of dioxins could prove to be even more damaging to humans.