Otsego residential wells test negative for dioxin and PFAS in latest DEQ testing

For Immediate Release
January 7, 2019

DEQ Media Office, deq-assist@michigan.gov, 517-284-9278

The Michigan Departments of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the Allegan County Health Department today announced that the retest of 21 private residential wells in Otsego found no presence of dioxin in most of the wells that had previously tested positive for the contaminant. Only one of the wells showed trace amounts of dioxin well below drinking water standards.

The wells were retested in October after some results from a July sampling event tested positive for dioxin. It was later determined the July results were invalid due to contamination in laboratory testing equipment. A different laboratory was used for the October resampling effort.

Dioxins are a group of chemicals that may be formed during chemical and paper manufacturing and are harmful to human health. Earlier this year, residents brought concerns about contamination and possible resulting health issues in the Otsego area to federal and state agencies.

The initial results were announced during an October 20 meeting at the Otsego Middle School. Residents whose wells were tested received their results by mail.

The new results show the highest dioxin level within the 21 wells was 0.13 parts per quadrillion (ppq) -- well below the MDEQ Part 201 drinking water Toxicity Equivalent Quotient of 30 ppq.

Residential Well Samples for PFAS Negative

As part of the investigation, the DEQ also sampled five monitoring and 20 additional residential wells in and around the former Menasha Corporation Landfill in Otsego for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the groundwater after earlier testing of some ponds immediately adjacent to the landfill identified PFAS at levels exceeding MDEQ Part 201 drinking water criteria.

All residential well samples came back negative for PFAS. The DHHS will provide PFAS sampling results to individual homeowners via letters.

The next phase of the investigation will involve collection of soil samples in Otsego to test for both dioxins and PFAS.  These results will be shared with the community at a future public meeting.

Otsego residents with additional questions about test results can call:

  • MDEQ Kalamazoo District Office at 269-567-3500
  • MDHHS at 800-648-6942