Lacks Industries - Cascade, Grand Rapids, Kent County

Lacks Cascade Initial PFAS Sampling and Potential Domestic Well Use Site MapUpdated: February 14, 2019


This site is located at 1601 Galbraith Ave S.E., in Grand Rapids. The site is a former metal plating facility and producer of plastic parts. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) proactively tested this plating facility due to historical groundwater contamination.

Recent Accomplishments

  • On January 16, 2019, Lacks Industries hosted a meeting for the residents being hooked up to city water to discuss details.
  • On January 17, 2019, MDEQ hosted an open office hours session at the Cascade Township Wisner Center
  • On February 13 from 6:00 – 8:00 PM, MDEQ hosted an open office hours session at the Cascade Township Wisner Center, located at 2870 Jacksmith Ave SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546.

Next Steps

  • Lacks Industries will continue to sample monitoring wells to determine the extent of the contamination.
  • The MDEQ will continue to email updates to residents via GovDelivery.
  • The MDEQ will be sampling fish from Walden and Wood lakes. Fish have been collected, and results should be available by June 2019.

Residential Well Testing/Alternate Water Information

  • 21 residential wells have been tested (all by Lacks Industries, with MDEQ or Kent County Health Department present). All results have been received; there have been no detections over the USEPA Lifetime Health Advisory (LHA) of 70 ppt.

Upcoming Community Engagement

  • None scheduled at this time.
Sampling: PFOS and PFOA Only

Type of Sample

Date Sampled

# of Samples

# of Results Received

# of Non-detects

# Between Non-detect and standard*

# > Standard

Drinking Water (Residential, Type I & II) Through Sep 26, 2018 21 21 13 8 0


Aug 2018 -
Dec 2018
57 57 43 9 5


  78 78 56 17 5

*Groundwater results are compared to the MDEQ Part 201 Criteria of 70 ppt.
*Surface water results are compared to Rule 57 surface water quality values of 12 ppt (PFOS) and 12,000 ppt (PFOA).

Sampling notes

  • Other PFAS analytes were detected in samples. There are no federal or state standards for these analytes.
  • Results are shown in the interactive map in terms of “PFOS + PFOA”, as well as “Total PFAS”.Total PFAS includes additional PFAS chemicals not included in the U.S. EPA’s LTHA level of 70 ppt.
  • The quality control process is still being completed for some of these results, and they will not be final until that process is finished. The MDEQ’s goal in providing these preliminary results is to provide transparency, allowing residents to make the best, well-informed choices based on all available data.
  • Initial sampling was focused on locations where chromium had been detected in the past.
  • Surface water samples have been taken in Walden Lake.

Lacks Industries - Cascade Historical Timeline

The Lacks Industries – Cascade site is located at 1601 Galbraith Ave S.E., in Grand Rapids. The site is a former metal plating manufacturer of zinc die-cast parts.  Plating operations were conducted from 1963 until 1984. This site applied copper, nickel, and chromium plating to the parts. In the summer of 1984, the plating equipment was removed from the plant. The site was used to produce plastic parts from 1980 to 1987, and to assemble plastic parts from 1987 to 1997.

During the time it was an active plating operation, three seepage lagoons on the property received metal-bearing process wastewater. Following the closure of the plating line, the lagoons received non-contact cooling water and wash water from the paint area. Two consent judgements were issued to Lack’s Industries in the U.S. District Court in 1989; one to address cleanup and closure of the surface impoundments, and the other to determine the rate and extent of contamination in the groundwater.

The MDEQ proactively tested this plating facility for PFAS due to the historical groundwater contamination. Nearby lakes include Walden Lake and Wood Lake. The stream that drains them discharges to the Thornapple River.

  • In August 2018, the MDEQ (Water Resources Division) sampled the remediation (purge) well discharge prior to it discharging to Walden Lake, and PFOS was detected at 240 ppt.
  • In August/September 2018, the MDEQ and Lacks collected samples from a groundwater extraction well and four groundwater monitoring wells near Walden Lake. These wells were chosen because they were located downgradient of the closed seepage lagoons and along the general groundwater flow path where chromium contamination had been detected in the past.
  • At the end of September 2018, the groundwater results were received. Results indicated there was groundwater contamination over 70 ppt PFOA+PFOS.
  • In October 2018, Lacks Industries sampled Walden Lake and three monitoring wells on the outer edges of the previously determined area of investigation, located near Burton Street SE and Cascade Road SE.
  • On October 30, 2018, Lacks Industries and the MDEQ hosted a community meeting in Cascade Township with the public to discuss the investigation.
  • In October 2018, the MDEQ resampled a resident who had a self-reported detection of 50 ppt PFOS; the sample result came back as non-detect.
  • In November/December 2018, Lacks and the MDEQ have also been sampling groundwater monitoring wells within the existing monitoring well network. Several of the monitoring wells have multiple sampling points within the thickness of the aquifer, providing some insight into the vertical distribution of PFAS in the aquifer.
  • As of December 10, 2018, Lacks, the MDEQ, and the Kent County Health Department have sampled 21 drinking water wells and have received preliminary results for 20 of those samples.
  • On December 10, 2018, the MDEQ sent the first GovDelivery email update on site investigation to residents.
  • In December 2018, Lacks completed Phase I of residential well sampling; 21 residents were sampled in total. Total PFAS in samples have ranged from 2 – 54 ppt.