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Efforts move forward to protect drinking water in Milford

While a potential contaminant has not been found in drinking water used by residents in Milford, efforts will move ahead to keep it that way.

That was the conclusion state officials made during an online meeting Wednesday to address the issue after contaminants were found near the village’s municipal wells.

In March, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) issued an Administrative Order requiring ZF Active Safety US Inc. (ZF), the American subsidiary of German auto supplier ZF Group, to install a treatment system to address contamination threatening the drinking water, although officials noted that it was a pre-emptive measure and Milford’s water supply remained safe to use and drink.

MLive.com quoted Kevin Wojciechowski, an environmental quality analyst with EGLE’s remediation division, as confirming vinyl chloride had not been detected in the village’s drinking water, but that ZF will install permanent treatment on the village system and provide other financial assurances and potential emergency support.

Groundwater contamination had migrated from property formerly owned and operated by ZF’s predecessor Kelsey-Hayes Company.  The contamination is composed of chlorinated volatile organic compounds (CVOCs), which are harmful to human health, even at low levels.  

On June 4, 2021, EGLE was notified by ZF’s Environmental Consultant of the presence of vinyl chloride, one of the CVOCs, in excess of drinking water standards in a monitoring well close to the Village of Milford’s drinking water wells.  EGLE notified ZF of its responsibility to address the threat, and after ZF failed to take action in a timely manner, EGLE proceeded to issue the Administrative Order.

Treatment efforts will tap into $2 million in federal infrastructure funds, which Milford Village manager Christian Wuerth says will require a $400,000 local match, paid for with water rates and capital reserve funds.

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