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DEQ using drone to help find source of PFAS in Lake Margrethe

DEQ using drone to help find source of PFAS in Lake Margrethe

CRAWFORD COUNTY, Mich. (WPBN/WGTU) -- The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is starting to use drones to help find the source of potentially dangerous chemicals in Lake Margrethe.

The drone flights are part of a broader effort to find PFAS chemicals in different locations around the state. The drone that experts are using is rigged with an infrared camera, so in addition to having a bird's eye view of the lake, it can pick up heat signatures.

“We’re looking for either springs or groundwater seeps where the water actually enters the bottom of the lake," said Randy Rothe from the DEQ.

Images captured by the drone show much cooler ground water flowing into the lake. Those sources of ground water are where experts want to test and possibly trace back to a source of PFAS.

A possible source nearby is the Camp Grayling Airfield. One of the main uses of the man-made chemical was in foam used to put out fires.

“It could be from more than one source," Rothe said. "We don’t know that it’s coming from Camp Grayling. They have areas that they are going to be looking at on base itself for that information. We’ve had reports of houses that burned down many years ago where they have used foams. That could potentially be a source.”

The DEQ is still recommending that people living near Lake Margrethe have their wells tested.

“We’re encouraging folks who live along the lake area, or if they’re anywhere within our study zone to reach out to us or the local health department to get signed up for testing," said Melanie Brown from the DEQ.

Experts plan to be back on the water Monday, mapping out ground water sources and testing them for PFAS.

If you live in that area and want some more information, or want to have your well tested, you can visit the PFAS response website.


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