Alpena County, Alpena, Alpena Hide and Leather

Updated: February 12, 2020

Manistee Plating Aerial MapBackground

This site is an active state-funded Part 201 site, acquired by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) on October 3, 2013. It was built in 1895 and is located on the north side of the Thunder Bay River; it closed in 1952. In August 2017, EGLE took groundwater and soil samples due to suspected contamination on site from chemicals used in the tanning process. PFAS was detected in both the groundwater and the soil samples. EGLE has also removed some buried hides and contaminated soil from the former tannery site and will continue these efforts as needed. 

Recent Accomplishments

  • On January 15, 2020, EGLE collected four storm water samples from the storm water vault.  Sorbent booms were placed in the vault as a mitigation pilot test to assess their ability to remove PFAS from storm water in December 2020.
  • On January 15, 2020, EGLE installed a pressure transducer to monitor water levels in the pilot test storm water vault to better understand volume/flow rates and seasonal variation in discharge.
  • In February 2020, the PFAS 2nd Quarter 2019 monitoring report was finalized. 

Next Steps

  • EGLE will continue to monitor PFAS in aqueous media on and near the site. The next planned sampling event is in Spring 2020.
  • EGLE will continue to visually monitor the Thunder Bay River at identified survey points for the presence of foam and collect foam samples for laboratory assessment if present (ongoing).
  • EGLE will collect seasonal samples of inflow and outflow as part of the storm water mitigation pilot test (next planned event Spring 2020) to further assess treatment loading in the vault.
  • Draft PFAS Summer 2019 monitoring report and the PFAS Pilot Study report are expected in March 2020.
  • December 2019 PFAS analytical results are being validated (expected completion late February 2020).
  • EGLE will continue to follow up on resident calls and emails related to this site.

Residential Well Testing/Alternate Water Information

  • There are no known impacts to drinking water. The area surrounding the site is on municipal drinking water from the city of Alpena.
  • EGLE has sampled all municipal water supplies for PFAS. View the results for the city of Alpena.

Upcoming Community Engagement

  • No upcoming community engagements.   
Sampling: PFOS and PFOA Only

Type of Sample

Date Sampled

# of Samples

# of Results Received

# of Non-detects

# Between Non-detect and standard*

# > Standard

Monitoring Wells Dec. 2019 264 264 39 107 118
Surface Water Dec. 2019 65 65 54 11 0

Cumulative

  329 329 93 118 118

*Groundwater results are compared to EGLE Part 201 Criteria of 70 ppt PFOS+PFOA.
*Surface water results are compared to Rule 57 surface water quality values of 12 ppt PFOS and 12,000 ppt for PFOA.
Tabulated monitoring well include grab groundwater samples.
Pilot test performance monitoring groundwater results are not included in the above totals.

Sampling notes

  • Other PFAS analytes were detected in samples. There are no federal or state standards for these analytes.
  • The highest concentration detected in foam samples from the Thunder Bay River to date is 1,060 ppt Total Tested PFAS (April 2019). There has been a total of six foam and foam-surface water interface samples collected from the Thunder Bay River. Foam accumulations have been limited to high flow conditions (spring).    

Alpena Hide & Leather Historical Timeline

Alpena Hide & Leather is an active state-funded Part 201 site, acquired by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) on October 3, 2013. It was built in 1895 and is located on the north side of the Thunder Bay River. The location closed in 1952.

In August 2017, EGLE took groundwater and soil samples due to suspected contamination on site from chemicals used in the tanning process. PFAS was detected in both the groundwater and the soil samples. EGLE also removed some buried hides and contaminated soil from the former tannery site and will continue these efforts as needed.

The area is serviced by municipal drinking water. As analytical data comes back on soil and groundwater, additional investigations will be performed and, if needed, remedial actions identified. All testing results mentioned in the timeline below are reported in the Sampling Table above.

  • In the Fall of 2017, EGLE collected 27 groundwater monitoring well samples.
  • In April 2018, EGLE collected 20 groundwater monitoring well samples.
  • In June 2018, EGLE collected 13 groundwater monitoring well samples.
  • In 2017, EGLE collected 14 surface water samples. All of the surface water results from the Thunder Bay River were below the Rule 57 surface water quality values of 12 ppt for PFOS and 12,000 ppt for PFOA.
  • In April and May 2018, EGLE collected additional surface water samples from the Thunder Bay River. Again, all the surface water results were below the Rule 57 surface water quality values.
  • In November 2018, EGLE collected 40 groundwater monitoring well samples and 10 surface water samples from the Thunder Bay River.
  • In November 2017, EGLE conducted a search to assure that no private drinking water wells are in use in the area.
  • In August 2018, EGLE conducted a bench study and treatability study to see if a carbon-based material could be added to the soil to reduce leaching. The results in both of the lab studies were very promising.
  • In December 2018, a work plan for an in-field pilot test for soil treatability was prepared and the pilot test was conducted.
  • On December 13, 2018, EGLE finalized the PFAS Supplemental Investigation Report for April-July 2018, for PFAS soil, groundwater, surface water, and foam sampling.
  • On December 14, 2018, the in-field pilot test for soil treatability was completed.
  • On February 4, 2019, EGLE received validated analytical results from the November and December groundwater and surface water sampling for review.
  • On February 19, 2019, a meeting with community stakeholders and local governmental agencies was conducted.
  • In April 2019, EGLE collected 30 groundwater monitoring well samples; 11 surface water samples from the Thunder Bay River, 14 storm water samples, and two foam samples.
  • On April 2 – 5, 2019, EGLE performed the spring PFAS sampling event. Samples were collected from monitoring wells, storm water and surface water.
  • On April 5, 2019, EGLE collected a surface water foam sample from the Thunder Bay River.
  • On April 9 – 10, 2019, EGLE performed PFAS pilot sampling and grab groundwater sampling from 4 grab groundwater locations.
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  • On June 24-25, 2019, EGLE installed three new monitoring wells on the site and six offsite monitoring wells for future PFAS sample collection and downgradient hydrogeologic characterization.
  • On June 27, 2019, EGLE surveyed the location and top of casing elevation of newly installed monitoring wells. The location and ground elevation of catch basins near the newly installed monitoring wells were surveyed.
  • In July and August 2019, EGLE developed and gauged newly installed monitoring wells to assess the downgradient groundwater flow direction/gradient.
  • On August 19 – 23, 2019, EGLE performed the summer PFAS sampling event. Samples were collected from monitoring wells, storm water and surface water (Thunder Bay River).  No foam was encountered/sampled on the river during this event.
  • On September 27, 2019, EGLE and AMEC met with the Site property owner to discuss PFAS impacts to groundwater and its relationship to surface water.  Remediation and/or mitigation strategies were discussed as well as future Site development plans. 
  • On September 27, 2019, EGLE deployed a test boom for potential cost-effective point source treatment/mitigation of PFAS in storm water.
  • On October 2, 2019, following a significant rain event (>0.1-feet), EGLE collected a sample of storm water up- and downstream of the boom.
  • EGLE received up- and downstream analytical results from the test boom on November 5, 2019.   Results suggest that the current Boom placement had little effect on storm water quality with respect to PFAS, likely due to existing sediment buildup within the storm sewer vault. 
  • On December 9-12, 2019, EGLE performed the Winter PFAS sampling event. Samples were collected from monitoring wells, storm water and surface water (Thunder Bay River).  Trace levels of foam were observed in the river but due to limited accumulation, no foam samples could be collected during this event.
  • On December 10, 2019, EGLE collected soil samples from the injection and soil mixing pilot test areas to assess ongoing immobilization performance/stability of the injected media.
  • On December 19-20, 2019, EGLE cleaned out two historical storm water vaults and implemented a storm water mitigation pilot test in the downstream vault.  The vault appears to have been installed as part of storm water/groundwater management during past tannery operations and is connected downstream to the City of the Alpena system.
  • On January 15, 2020, EGLE collected storm water samples of from the vault being used as a pilot test of a passive mitigation approach to remove PFAS from storm water.   A pressure transducer was also installed to monitor water levels to assess discharge.