By Sara Powers

CASCADE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Hundreds of homes that use well water near the Grand Rapids-area airport could be connected to a public water source by 2023 after the state set aside $5 million for the project, officials said.

The homes in Cascade Township have wells in an area of polluted groundwater. A firefighting foam used by Gerald R. Ford International Airport had PFAS.

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PFAS is shorthand for a class of chemicals known as perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances. The chemicals are increasingly turning up in private wells, sludge from wastewater treatment plants and even food.

Forty homes near the airport have levels of PFAS above state drinking water standards, and another 222 had some detection of the chemicals, reported. Hundreds more could be eligible for a new water source.

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Officials would like the airport to contribute to the $13 million cost of connecting the homes to the Grand Rapids water system.

“We are engaged in productive conversations with EGLE, the attorney general’s office and Cascade Township regarding these matters,” said Casey Ries, the airport’s engineering director, referring to the state environmental agency. “It has been requested that those conversations and a timeline for next steps are confidential and we respect this request.”

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