Background

  • Last Updated: January 14, 2021

    Former Wurtsmith Air Force Base & Oscoda Area MapEGLE Site Lead:
    Amanda Armbruster
    ArmbrusterA@Michigan.gov
    989-450-6377

    Several individual PFAS sites have been identified in the Oscoda area and near the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base (WAFB).  Many of the sites were identified when the department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) initiated sampling activities in areas where PFAS use or disposal was suspected.  Other sites were found by area-wide residential well sampling efforts and investigations completed to help understand where PFAS was being found in groundwater community wide.  EGLE’s contractor also conducted sampling to better understand potential impacts from the former WAFB.  Because the Oscoda Area and former WAFB investigation activities are somewhat intertwined, please visit the Former WAFB page at Michigan.gov/Wurtsmith for more information. 

    All Oscoda Area Documents
    All Wurtsmith Documents

    The Oscoda Area PFAS sites identified by EGLE’s investigation efforts include:

    • Colbath Road
    • Loud Drive
    • Oscoda Area Schools/Pinecrest and River Roads
    • McDonald Store Fire
    • Oscoda Township Dump
    • AuSable Township Smith Street Area

    Details regarding each of these sites are provided and retained under their respective timelines below. 

    Recent Accomplishments

    • On October 27-29, 2020, EGLE’s consultant conducted a quarterly groundwater sampling event.  Monitoring wells were sampled in the Colbath Road, Loud Drive, Oscoda Area Schools/Pinecrest and River Roads, and Au Sable Township Areas.
    • In November 2020, EGLE received results for the above described sampling event.  A summary of the results is included in the Sampling chart included on this page.
    • EGLE staff identified several properties with private wells located in the vicinity of an EGLE groundwater monitoring well that exceeds the new drinking water cleanup criteria for PFOA.  Letters requesting access to conduct drinking water sampling were mailed to  14 potentially impacted Au Sable Township property owners in December.  The sampling, if approved by the owners, will be conducted by EGLE’s contractor free of charge and is expected to be completed in January.  
    • The next EGLE quarterly groundwater sampling event is scheduled for the week of January 25, 2021.

Sampling Data

  • Next Steps

    • Groundwater sampling summary reports are being prepared for the Oscoda Area quarterly sampling and Au Sable Smith Street Area investigation that were completed over the past year.  The reports will be attached to the “Resources” section of this web page when they are finalized.
    • EGLE will continue to coordinate sampling of several monitoring wells throughout the Oscoda Area on a quarterly basis.  Monitoring wells will be sampled in the Colbath Road, Loud Drive, Oscoda Area Schools/Pinecrest/River Roads and Au Sable Township areas.
    • Monthly coordination calls will be held between EGLE and several parties including, but not limited to, DHHS, DHD2, Oscoda Township and Au Sable Township.
       

    Sampling Results Summary

    This table reflects data received after August 3, 2020.  Data prior to August 3, 2020 is reflected in the timeline below. 
    This table was updated to include all seven PFAS criteria effective December 21, 2020.

    Type of Sample

    Date Sampled (or range)

    Number of Sample Results Received

    Number of Samples above Criteria*

    Groundwater Monitoring Wells July - October 2020 56 24
    Surface Water July - October 2020 2 0

    *Residential well and groundwater monitoring well results are compared to EGLE Part 201 criteria for 7 PFAS compounds:  PFOS (16 ppt), PFOA (8 ppt), PFNA (6 ppt), PFHxS (51 ppt), PFHxA (400,000 ppt), PFBS (420 ppt), and HFPO-DA (370 ppt).
    *Surface water samples are compared to Rule 57 non-drinking water values of 12 ppt for PFOS and 12,000 ppt for PFOA. 

    Additional sampling data can be found on the Former Wurtsmith Air Force Base site page.

  • Sampling Notes

    • On August 3, 2020, new Part 201 Criteria went into effect.  Historical sampling data compared to Part 201 Criteria >70ppt PFOS+PFOA is captured in the historical timeline below.

    Residential Well Alternate Water Information

    DHHS is offering drinking water well retesting to Oscoda-area residents whose wells were previously tested for PFAS or who were offered drinking water filters, or both. There is no charge for the testing.

    Testing is currently underway and DHHS is contacting residents by letter and by phone to schedule water collection appointments. Seasonal residents who are away for the winter can schedule an appointment at a later date.

    The goal of the repeat testing is to:

    • Determine if PFAS is in residential wells
    • If so, the amount
    • If the amount of PFAS is increasing, decreasing, or remaining the same over time

    DHHS will be retesting these drinking water wells in coordination with EGLE, and DHD2. Residents who have questions about this PFAS testing effort or who would like to schedule an appointment can call the DHHS Drinking Water Hotline at 844-934-1315.

    • 196 households have been provided filters by DHD2 and 196 filter replacements have been conducted (as of 7/8/20).
    • 50 households were provided water coolers by DHD2 (as of 7/8/20).
    • 27 households have been connected to municipal water (as of 7/8/20).
  • Upcoming Community Engagement

    • A virtual community meeting is scheduled for January 19, 2021 and Restoration Advisory Board meeting for the Oscoda Area and WAFB sites.  Please see Michigan.gov/MPARTevents for updates and information on how to register for future meetings.