Helmer and Dickman Road Area (Battle Creek/Springfield)

UPDATES as of September 13, 2018

# Residential Well & Type 2 Drinking Water Wells Sampled

# Sample Results Received

# Non-Detect (PFOS + PFOA)

#ND – 70 ppt (PFOS + PFOA)

#> 70 ppt (PFOS + PFOA)

Highest value (PFOS + PFOA) in ppt








Helmer Dickman Road pfas sampling area in Battle Creek Michigan

The Helmer and Dickman Road Area (Area) is in the city of Battle Creek/Springfield Township, Calhoun County, Michigan near the Air National Guard (ANG) base (Base).  Residential and commercial properties are present to the north, east, and south, with the Fort Custer Industrial Park located to the west.  The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) started to assess the Area based on the history of aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) use for fire-fighting training at the Base. 

Initial DEQ actions focused on testing drinking water wells to better understand potential risk to human health through water consumption.  City water is available in parts of the Area, however, many residents in the Area drink water from private wells.  Several residents also consume fish that come from lakes and streams in the Area and consume agricultural products grown in the Area.

After a municipal briefing on April 12, 2018, DEQ contractors tested water wells east and north of the Base.  Results were shared with municipal leaders at a second briefing on May 31, 2018. The DEQ also shared plans to test water wells in Bedford Township and began to test those wells in June 2018.

On June 11, 2018, the DEQ received results of split samples from water wells that were tested on the Base.  Results show the presence of 13 PFAS compounds.  The highest results were 21,500 ppt PFOA; 55,500 ppt PFOS; and 38,400 ppt PFHxS.  The other split samples were analyzed by the ANG’s lab; results are expected sometime in July.

The DEQ also measured water levels, redeveloped, and tested two monitor wells located north and off-Base using the isotope dilution method. Test results for those wells indicated PFOA is present in both wells below 70 ppt. PFOS is present in both wells above 70 ppt with the highest level at 902 ppt. Several other PFAS compounds are also present in both wells. These wells are located down-gradient of the Base as shown by groundwater flow data collected by the DEQ at a nearby facility. DEQ expects groundwater flow direction will be influenced by the surface water features in the Area to the north, most notably the Kalamazoo River. 

The DEQ will continue to visit home owners in a portion of Bedford Township to request permission and to test water wells north and northwest and more than one mile from the Base.  Work is also in progress to evaluate records to determine if there are other suspected locations where PFAS may have been made or used. In July 2018, the DEQ is preparing to host another Open House and a Town Hall meeting for the public.


UPDATES as of September 13, 2018

  • DEQ Update
    • Last Municipal Update Meeting was held on September 13, 2018.
    • Area has been expanded beyond the 1-mile radius to the North into Bedford Township.
    • Sampled 46 additional drinking water wells within the Area.
    • A total of 74 drinking water wells have been sampled to date or approximately 60% of all identified wells.
    • Of the 74 wells only 1 well exceeds our criteria of 70 parts per trillion for PFOA + PFOS.
    • There are 23 other drinking water wells with detections of PFOA + PFOS but are well below the criteria.
    • There are 46 wells with detections of Total PFAS.
    • Also, on July 30, 2018, held an open house and town hall updating the public.
  • Michigan Department of Health & Human Services / Calhoun County Health Department Update
    • All results have verbally been communicated to the residents.
    • Still in the process of providing written results to some residents.
    • Have provided filters in 22 residential homes so far.
  • Department of Military and Veteran Affairs (DMVA) Update
    • Draft Final Site Investigation Report has been submitted to DEQ for review and comment which should be finalized yet this Fall.


  • Continue to sample residential wells as requests are received.
  • Develop plans to conduct a fish study on the Beaver Pond. Conduct the study sometime yet this Fall.
  • Develop plans to collect surface water samples in the Area. Perform the sampling yet this Fall.
  • Contact private owners regarding other water bodies and evaluate the need for additional fish studies and/or surface water sampling.
  • Identify other potential PFAS sources within the Area.
  • Finish mailing out analytical results to the remaining residents.
  • Provide comments on the DMVA Site Investigation Report and make it available to the public as soon as possible.