North 34th Street, Richland Township, Kalamazoo County

Updated: January 17, 2019

Aerial View of NOrth 34th Street, Richland Township, Kalamazoo CountyBackground

This site is the former location of Production Plated Plastics. Heavy metal contamination at the site was discovered in 1977 and remedial investigations have been underway for multiple contaminants since. Effluent samples from the groundwater treatment system tested above criteria for PFOS in April 2018.

Recent Accomplishments

  • Based on monitoring well results received in November 2018, the residential well sampling area was expanded to the south, along East DE Avenue.
  • From December 10-27, 2018, MDEQ collected 20 residential water well samples from residences along East DE Avenue.Results of the sampling were received in early-mid January, indicating additional residential well sampling to the south may be warranted.
  • In December 2018, MDEQ sampled recently installed monitoring wells. Results of the sampling were received on December 31, 2018.

Next Steps

  • MDEQ will continue to work on obtaining access and/or permits for Remedial Investigation activities.
  • MDEQ will resume work on the Remedial Investigation on January 7, 2019.
  • MDEQ will continue to respond to citizen inquiries and questions regarding the site.

Residential Well Testing/Alternate Water Information

  • 53 households have been given filters from the Kalamazoo County Health & Community Services Department (KCHCSD).
  • 45 households are being provided bottled water by KCHCSD.
  • 1 household has been provided a water cooler by the KCHCSD.
  • MDEQ began conducting additional residential well sampling in mid-December 2018 and will continue until all 25 samples are collected. These residential wells are in the expanded study area along East DE Ave.

Upcoming Community Engagement

  • An invitation-only community update event, organized by Richland Township, is scheduled for January 31, 2019, at 7 p.m.
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) Jun 27, 2018 -
Dec 27, 2018
82 82 43 23 16
Monitoring Wells Oct 29, 2018 -
Dec 4, 2018
29 29 0 3 26
Extraction Wells Oct 1, 2018 3 3 0 0 3
Effluent (Pumping System) Apr 13, 2018 -
Nov 19, 2018
4 4 2 1 1


  118 118 45 27 46

*Surface water and effluent results are compared to Rule 57 surface water quality values of 12 ppt for PFOS and 12,000 ppt for PFOA.
*Residential well results are compared to the EPA Lifetime Health Advisory Level of 70 ppt.

Sampling notes

  • Other PFAS analytes were detected in samples. There are no federal or state standards for these analytes.

North 34th Street Historical Timeline

The North 34th Street site includes the former location of Production Plated Plastics and is located in Richland Township in Kalamazoo County. In 1977, heavy metal contamination was discovered in groundwater samples that were collected from residential wells along North 34th Street.  Investigations conducted by the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) determined the source of the heavy metal contamination was a plastics plating company located on East D Avenue.  Pursuant to court orders, the plastics plating company replaced the affected residential drinking water wells and undertook other response activities.  In 1985, halogenated volatile organic compounds (HVOCs) were identified in the groundwater at the site.  DEQ investigations determined the plastics plating company, as well as a laundry and dry-cleaning business located on North 34th Street, were the cause of the HVOC contamination.  As such, the area-wide impacts were designated as the North 34th Street site.

In the 1980s, the plastics plating company completed work to install, operate, and maintain a groundwater cleanup system. In 1988, the MDEQ extended municipal water to the site to provide safe drinking water to the residents with contaminated drinking water wells. The DEQ has also performed work to determine the extent of HVOC contamination.  The State sued the plating company; however, cost recovery was unsuccessful.  In 1991, the DEQ took over operation and maintenance (O&M) of the groundwater cleanup system after the company went out of business.  The property is now owned by the State of Michigan Land Bank. Since 1991, numerous cleanup efforts have been implemented—and continue to be implemented--to evaluate conditions and the effectiveness of the groundwater cleanup system.

The MDEQ, in coordination with its contractor, AECOM, is in the process of completing a remedial investigation to determine the nature and extent of PFAS impacts in the North 34th Street area.

  • In March of 2018, the city of Kalamazoo informed the MDEQ that as part of a state-wide requirement to test publicly owned treatment works for PFAS the city was proactively collecting effluent samples from permitted discharges to the sanitary system.
  • On April 13, 2018, effluent samples from the groundwater pumping system at the North 34th Street site were collected by the City’s consultant, Fleis & VandenBrink. The MDEQ’s consultant for the site, AECOM, also was present during the sampling to collect a sample for separate analysis.
  • On May 15, 2018, the city of Kalamazoo notified AECOM of the results of the effluent sampling, which showed a result of 8,000 ppt PFOS.No other PFAS compounds were detected in the effluent sample.A duplicate sample of the effluent collected by the city detected 7,500 ppt PFOS.
  • On May 30, 2018, the DEQ received the results of the effluent sample collected by AECOM.The sampling results indicated the presence of PFOS at a concentration of 9,640 ppt, as well as other PFAS analytes at lower concentrations (non-detect to 39.7 ppt). These results were shared with the city of Kalamazoo, and state and local health departments.
  • On May 31, 2018, the DEQ hosted a meeting with the city, state health department, and county health department to discuss the city’s sampling results and path moving forward.
  • On June 26, 2018, the MDEQ received a cost estimate for installing a PFAS treatment system at the facility and identified funding and a timeline for implementing the treatment system by the end of July.
  • On June 26, 2018, DEQ and AECOM staff collected residential well samples from four residences and one Type II well and expedited analysis of these samples. One of these samples was non-detect; 4 were greater than 70 ppt.
  • On July 11th, 12th and 18th 2018, DEQ completed residential well sampling at 26 residences. Sampling results indicated 8 wells were non-detect; 10 wells were greater than non-detect but below 70 ppt; and, 8 wells were greater than 70 ppt.
  • On July 18, 2018, MDEQ held a townhall at the Living Hope Church to provide information and answer questions from Richland residents.
  • On July 31, 2018, the MDEQ installed and made operational a groundwater treatment system for the existing groundwater pumping system. Testing of the system indicates it is in compliance with the discharge requirements for the city of Kalamazoo’s wastewater treatment system.
  • Between August 12th and 20th, 2018, the MDEQ sampled 31 additional residential wells.Sampling results indicated 28 wells were non-detect; 2 wells were greater than non-detect but below 70 ppt; and, 1 well was greater than 70 ppt.