Ground Water Canada

News Contamination Water Issues
Portage, Mich., testing 25 residential wells for PFAS after discovery at old landfill site


January 28, 2020
By Ground Water Canada

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Kalamazoo, MI – The City of Portage, Mich., in collaboration with other authorities will hold an informational briefing the week of Feb. 10 on results and next steps in the ongoing testing for PFAS contamination in the area of a former landfill in Portage.

The city is working with the Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services Department, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services on testing efforts.

South Westnedge Park was previously used as a municipal landfill, the city said in a news release. The city conducted ground water clean-up activities at the property until 1999. Since then the city has voluntarily conducted extensive testing in and around the landfill site to identify any contamination that may be present to ensure that no adverse environmental impacts are occurring in the community. All testing has been performed by a highly qualified environmental consulting firm retained by the City, American Hydrogeology Corporation.

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Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) contamination was initially discovered at the site in May 2019, in conjunction with ongoing ground water monitoring activities. The city began precautionary testing for PFAS at that time because PFAS had been added to the list of contaminants of concern by the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy. Following up on the initial testing of May 2019, additional sampling was performed in the fall of 2019 that identified PFAS contamination potentially migrating beyond the boundaries of the site. As a result, as required by Part 201 of the Michigan Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, the City of Portage provided notice to 103 affected down gradient property owners between Nov. 25 and December 17, 2019.

The city is continuing its investigation of PFAS contamination that may be emanating from the former landfill site. The residents within the potentially affected area and who rely on private wells for their potable water needs are being contacted by the City of Portage, EGLE and Kalamazoo County Health & Community Services Department.

PFAS sampling of 25 residential water wells near the site of contamination began this week and should be completed by Jan. 31, 2020. It is anticipated residential water well test results will be received within two weeks. The PFAS water test results will provide home owners that rely on onsite water wells valuable water quality information and will direct the next steps. At present time, there are no test results showing PFAS in private drinking water wells near the investigation testing site and quarterly testing of municipal drinking water continue to meet water quality standards for PFAS. EGLE performs quarterly testing of the municipal drinking water system in Portage and has found no detections of PFAS exceeding current US EPA recommendations Lifetime Health Advisory or the more stringent drinking water standards being considered by the State of Michigan.

These results are available on the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team (MPART) website.