Shutdown scuttles meeting on groundwater contamination

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A public meeting on groundwater contamination in a western Michigan community has been postponed because of the partial federal government shutdown.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality had scheduled the gathering for Jan. 23 at Rockford High School.

The agencies are investigating toxic chemical pollution in Kent County from the former Wolverine Worldwide tannery and a waste dump.

Among the contaminants are heavy metals and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known as PFAS. People living in the affected area have been offered bottled drinking water while a long-term solution is developed.

Officials say the public meeting will be rescheduled after EPA staffers return to work when the shutdown ends.

DEQ spokesman Scott Dean says the shutdown isn’t affecting day-to-day work at the tannery site.

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