KALAMAZOO, Mich. – A water crisis in western Michigan is causing thousands of people to rely on bottled water as more testing gets underway. Now, the question is how many people will be affected and what damage has already been done.
The issue is impacting many communities in and around Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids.
Contaminants collectively known as PFAs were discovered in more than 650 public water sites since May. More than 11,000 sites in Michigan will be tested and could be impacted.
Long-term exposure to the contaminants can cause health problems and affect the kidneys, thyroid and reproductive system.
In the meantime, water distribution continued Monday at Parchment High School in Kalamazoo County. Several volunteers from the American Red Cross and the high school football team helped load water into cars and trucks.
Officials are warning residents in Parchment not to drink city water until further notice.
"I have animals," a resident said. "I'm more concerned about my animals than me, and I want everybody to know how great it's been. Everybody in Parchment has cooperated. All these volunteers, the cops, they've been wonderful. It makes me glad that I've been here for 50 years."
The Great Lakes Water Authority, which serves Metro Detroit, already does the PFA testing in the area.
A town hall meeting is scheduled Monday night in western Michigan to share more information about the water threat.