The Stream, October 16: Third Military Base in Michigan Tests Positive for Groundwater Contamination

The Global Rundown

A training center in Alpena, Michigan becomes the third military base in the state to test positive for contaminated groundwater. High temperatures and drought help fuel the deadly wildfires blazing throughout California. The outbreak of the Zika virus in Ecuador was likely made worse by El Niño and the country’s 2016 earthquake, a recent study finds. The U.S. approves a $36.5 billion dollar relief package for Puerto Rico and other areas hit by recent natural disasters. After months of low reservoir levels, heavy rains give farmers hope in the Indian states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

“It’s been in our groundwater for a long time and the test numbers came in very high.” –Capt. Brian Blumline, a civil engineer at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center, in reference to elevated levels of perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctyl sulfonate found in the military base’s groundwater. The contaminants are left over from firefighting foam that was used at the base in years past. The training center is the third military base in Michigan to test positive for contaminated groundwater. ABC News

In context: Nonstick chemicals slipped Into water, causing health, environmental, regulatory mess.

By The Numbers

5 years Length of a drought that parched California’s forests, paving the way for the deadly wildfires blazing throughout the state. California also experienced record-breaking heat and below-average rainfall this summer. The fires have killed at least 40 and torched thousands of homes. BBC

$36.5 billion Amount of a relief package approved by the U.S. House of Representatives to aid Puerto Rico and other areas hit by recent disasters, including Florida, Texas, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and California. The aid package is expected to be approved by the U.S. Senate in coming weeks. Reuters

Science, Studies, And Reports

A Zika virus outbreak in coastal Ecuador was likely worsened by the 2014-2016 El Niño event and the 2016 Ecuador earthquake, a recent study claims. According to the American Geophysical Union, the two weather events created more favorable mosquito breeding grounds and may have led to a 12-fold increase in Zika cases. Science Daily

On The Radar

Recent rains in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, India have led to a quick increase in reservoir water levels, giving hope to farmers throughout the area. Reservoir levels began increasing during the third week of September and are continuing to rise. The Hindu