Wurtsmith Air Force Base, Oscoda, Iosco County - New

Updated: January 13, 2020Base Boundary - Former Wurtsmith Air Force Base

Background

Wurtsmith Air Force Base served primarily as a combat crew and bomber training base throughout its 70-year history. Since its establishment in 1923, Wurtsmith played an important role in World War II, Vietnam and the Persian Gulf War, hosting the 134th Army Air Force Base Fighter Unit and 379th Bombardment Wing.  Wurtsmith was officially closed on June 30, 1993. Most of the acreage (4,354 of 4,628 acres) of the former base has been transferred for reuse.

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) became aware of PFAS concentrations in groundwater in March 2010 when EGLE staff performed sampling at a former fire training area on the base.

Recent Accomplishments

  • September 18, 2019, MDHHS and MDNR provided an updated map of the current health advisory for deer taken within five miles of Clark’s Marsh.  The advisory was issued in October 2018 due to high levels of PFAS chemicals found in a deer taken within five miles of the marsh. For additional information about this advisory and testing, visit the PFAS in Deer webpage.
  • On December 6, 2019, EGLE participated in a conference call with Oscoda and Au Sable Township officials, Need Our Water (NOW) group representatives, MDHHS and legislative representatives to discuss the Oscoda Area and former WAFB.
  • On December 11, 2019, EGLE, MDHHS, and USAF discussed the results of the Draft PFOA/PFOS Expanded Site Inspection via teleconference.
  • On December 19, 2019, EGLE hosted a PFAS response coordination call. Representatives from EGLE, MDNR, MDHHS, DHD2, Oscoda Township, Au Sable Township, OWAA the community RAB, USDA‑FS, and US Air Force participated.
  • December 30, 2019, USAF reported that the Wurtsmith ion exchange resin treatment system for Mission Street is fully functional and treating groundwater. 
  • On December 31, 2019, USAF submitted the Draft PFOA/PFOS ESI to EGLE.
  • Final Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Cleanup Team (BCT) Minutes from the October BCT Meeting are available at the All Other Wurtsmith Documents page.

Next Steps

  • EGLE plans to continue to collect split samples in future US Air Force sampling events and continues to review data collection methods in work plans and adherence to the work plans during data collection.
  • EGLE will continue working on action items from the dispute resolution meetings held on April 19, 2018, and April 25, 2019.
  • During the week of December 16, 2019, EGLE will host a PFAS response coordination call. Representatives from EGLE, MDNR, MDHHS, DHD2, Oscoda Township, Au Sable Township, OWAA, the community RAB, USDA-FS, and USAF are invited to attend.  These calls will continue to occur monthly.
  • USAF plans the Mission Street groundwater treatment system will be operational by the end of 2019
  • EGLE anticipates receipt of a draft copy of the USAF PFOA/PFOS Expanded Site Inspection by the end of December 2019.
  • During January 2019, staff and select management from MPART, EGLE, MDHHS, and MDNR will continue scheduling small in‑person meetings with representatives of Oscoda Township, Au Sable Township, and NOW (Need Our Water) to discuss environmental response activities and concerns.
  • USAF, EGLE, and MDHHS will meet the week of January 20, 2019 to discuss site progress.

Residential Well Testing/Alternate Water Information

  • See the Oscoda Area page for more information on residential well sampling.
  • For additional information on residential well testing and results, visit the Frequently Asked Questions.
  • EGLE has sampled all municipal water supplies for PFAS. The community of Oscoda purchases water from the Huron Shores Regional Utility Authority (HSRUA). View the results for HSRUA.

Van Etten Lake

  • The Van Etten Lake Timeline is located below. Moving forward updates will be incorporated into the former Wurtsmith MPART page.

Whispering Pines

  • The Whispering Pines Timeline is located below. Moving forward updates will be incorporated into the former Wurtsmith MPART page.
Sampling: PFOS and PFOA Only

Type of Sample

Date Sampled

# of Samples

# of Results Received

# of Non-detects

# Between Non-detect and standard*

# > Standard

Groundwater

Mar 2010 -
Present
736 736 115 373 268
Surface Water May 2010 -
Present
181 181 22 62 97
Comparison to US Air Force Aug 2019 - Present 9 0 - - -

Cumulative

  926 917 137 435 365

*Groundwater results are compared to EGLE Part 201 Criteria of 70 ppt PFOS+PFOA.
*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 available on the Oscoda Area page. 

Sampling notes

  • Sample totals in the above table reflect samples taken from the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base and samples from 6 Oscoda Area sites (excluding Oscoda Township Dump).
  • Other PFAS analytes were detected in samples. There are no federal or state standards for these analytes.
  • Fifteen foam samples have been taken off-base. A foam health advisory was issued by the local health department. Results range from 2,237 - 110,830 ppt PFOA+PFOS; and 2,487 - 164,253 ppt total tested PFAS. Cedar Lake (off base) foam results at 165 ppt PFOA and PFOS.
  • Groundwater sampling is both on and off-base. Surface water sampling is off-base.
  • Reporting of samples EGLE collects to compare to US Air Force sampling results began in August 2019.  

 

Van Etten Lake

  • In Summer 2017, EGLE began sampling of foam on the surface of Van Etten Lake. Sampling of foam still occurs to present day, depending on the volume of foam, location, and type/appearance. As of December 2019, updates will be incorporated into the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base timeline.

     View Entire Timeline

Whispering Pines

  • Starting in January 2016, DHD 2 began providing alternate water to Whispering Pines’ residents due to high levels (not above the LHA of 70 ppt) of PFOA and PFOS. As of December 2019, updates will be incorporated into the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base timeline.

     View Entire Timeline

Report Foam on Van Etten Lake

  • If you observe foam on Van Etten Lake , please report it to the State of Michigan’s Pollution Emergency Alerting System (PEAS) hotline at 800-292-4706 or fill out and send this email form. The following information is needed when you call or email:

    Van Etten Lake Foam

    • Name, Address, City, State, and Zip
    • Telephone Number
    • Email
    • Where is the foam located? (an address or location)
    • How much foam is present, length by width by thickness? (we understand this is an estimate/best guess)
    • What time did you first observe the foam, and is it still present?
    • If it is a floating mass of foam, which direction is it moving?
    • Wind speed, wind direction, and air temperature? If not, this information is not essential.
    • Can you take a picture of the foam and attach it to this email?