Emmet County, Village of Pellston, Pellston Area

Updated: May 19, 2020

Background

Pellston Area PFAS Sampling Map

PFAS has been detected above Drinking Water Criteria in residential samples south of the Pellston Regional Airport. The Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) is working quickly to determine source and extent of PFAS contamination. Priority residential sampling areas were determined based on regional groundwater flow, possible source areas of PFAS, and areas of sensitive populations. 

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has been contacting residents via phone as results are received.  Result letters will also be sent to residents. The Health Department of Northwest Michigan (HDNW) representatives have secured a supply of bottled water and a delivery point.  The water is available to residents with elevated levels of PFAS in their drinking water and water vouchers have been provided to residents within the village of Pellston.  An agreement was reached with a local plumbing contractor to install point of use filter systems and provide replacement cartridges to individuals with detectable levels of PFAS chemicals as a precautionary action.

A Public Health Information Line (PHIL) has been established to address any community health concerns throughout the response: 1-800-386-5959.

Recent Accomplishments

  • On May 13, 2020, a virtual town hall was held 6:00-7:45 p.m. to provide an update on PFAS contamination in the Pellston area, recent residential sampling results, water distribution, filter installation, and next steps in the environmental investigation. Presentations were given by EGLE, DHHS, and the HDNW. Participants had an opportunity to ask questions following the presentations.
  • On May 13, 2020, from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. MPART held a virtual student recognition event. Pellston teachers and students were recognized for initiating sampling of residential wells in the Pellston area, resulting in the PFAS investigation and response by the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team (MPART). Investigation updates were given by EGLE, DHHS, HDNW.
  • On April 28, 2020, EGLE received results from the five monitoring wells sampled at the closed Pellston dump. Three wells were non-detect for PFAS. Two wells had low detections below criteria and below the proposed MCLs. The results indicate the closed dump is not a downgradient source of PFAS. 

Next Steps

  • Residential sampling is currently on hold due to COVID-19. EGLE contractors will continue to sample residents in the inital sampling area once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.EGLE AECOM Contractor Badge: The badge is navy blue and states
  • IMPORTANT:
    • EGLE contractors - AECOM - AECOM staff are required to wear badges which look like the picture to the right. Image description: The badge is navy blue and states "PFAS Sampling Team". It has a link to the Michigan.gov/PFASResponse website. It will have a foil seal of Michigan, a unique number, and state "EGLE Contractor AECOM".

Residential Well Testing

  • Due to initial sampling results, the residential testing area has been expanded to the south to include former Lake Kathleen and portions west and south of the West Branch Maple River. Please see the map above. The sampling area now includes portions of Woodland Road, Ringler Road, Hartman Road, and Pine Trail.
  • If you live within the sampling area and have not had access to the form, download the EGLE/Health Department of NW Michigan PFAS Sampling Request Form. You must download the form to your computer before filling it out.
    • Return the form by email to MacDonaldL1@Michigan.gov or mail to:
      • Gaylord EGLE Office
        Attn: Leah MacDonald
        2100 West M-32
        Gaylord, MI 49735

Upcoming Community Engagement

  • None planned at this time.

Sampling: PFOS and PFOA Only

Type of Sample

Date Sampled

Number of Wells Sampled to Date

Number of Well Results Received

Number of Non-detects

Number Between Non-detect and Standard*

Number of > Standard
Residential/Private Well Samples Through Mar 20, 2020 161 161 87 59 15
Monitoring Well Samples Apr 1, 2020 5 5 3 2 0
Cumulative   166 166 90 61 15

*Residential well results are compared to the USEPA Lifetime Health Advisory Level of 70 ppt PFOS+PFOA.

Historical Timeline

  • On January 30, 2020, EGLE received a Freshwater Future result from a resident in the neighborhood directly south of the Pellston Regional Airport. The result exceeded proposed maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) for PFOS and PFHxS. EGLE learned that high school students had sampled multiple residences in the area with Freshwater Future PFAS sampling kits. The analysis of those kits was performed by the University of Michigan Biological Station at the south end of Douglas Lake. EGLE resampled the one residence to confirm the results.
  • On January 31, 2020, EGLE, DHHS, and HDNW discussed results and started planning actions to be taken if resample results confirmed initial results and if additional Freshwater Future results above criteria were received.
  • February 3, 2020, EGLE’s contractor collected a confirmation sample to confirm Freshwater Future results.
  • February 6, 2020, EGLE received results of confirmation sample. Results were almost double that of the initial Freshwater Future result. Results exceed 70 ppt PFOS + PFOA, which is the Part 201 Drinking Water Cleanup Criteria.
    • PFAS results were:

PFBS – 39 ppt
PFHxA – 10 ppt
PFHpA – 2 ppt
PFHxS – 226 ppt
PFOA – 13 ppt
​PFOS – 124 ppt

  • The remaining PFAS analytes were all non-detect.
  • As part of the 2018-2019 Statewide Drinking Water Sampling program, EGLE sampled Pellston Middle & High School, Pellston Elementary School, the Pioneer Building, and one other business west of downtown Pellston All four results were non-detect for PFAS.
  • February 6, 2020, EGLE, DHHS, HDNW, Village of Pellston officials, representatives of the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians (LTBB), and legislative representatives discussed results, further residential sampling, and future town hall meeting. EGLE presented initial sampling areas based on known groundwater flow direction, proximity to possible PFAS source areas, and areas of sensitive populations.
  • February 10, EGLE staff went door-to-door to distribute town hall flyers and sample request forms to residents in the initial sampling area (approximately 160 homes and businesses). EGLE staff also had meetings with township officials and LTBB. EGLE staff also attended a Village of Pellston council meeting in the evening to present the initial sampling area. 
  • February 11, 2020, EGLE mailed Emmet County a letter asking questions about the use, storage and handling of Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) foam at the Pellston Airport
  • February 12, 2020, a town hall meeting was held at the Pellston High School Auditorium. The town hall included an open house from 4:30-6:00 p.m. where residents could obtain information from EGLE, DHHS, HDNW, and LTBB. EGLE also took sample request forms from Pellston residents. At 6 p.m., presentations were given by Michigan PFAS Action Response Team, DHHS, and EGLE to explain basics of PFAS, health effects, and proposed sampling areas. EGLE also notified residents that residential sampling would begin on February 18, 2020.
  • On February 18-21, 2020, EGLE’s contractor collected residential water samples for PFAS analysis.
  • On February 21, 2020, EGLE and HDNW representatives attended Speaker Chatfield’s Coffee Hour at McKinley Township Hall. EGLE and HDNM gave short talks and met 1-on-1 with attendees that had additional questions. 
  • February 27, 2020, HDNW representatives secured a supply of bottled water and a delivery point.   The water is available for residents with elevated levels of PFAS in their drinking water and water vouchers have been provided to 13 residents within the village of Pellston.  An agreement was reached with a local plumbing contractor to install household filter systems and provide replacement cartridges to individuals with detectable levels of PFAS as a precautionary action.
  • On February 28, 2020, AECOM finished the first two weeks (initial round) of sampling. They collected 134 residential well samples in the first two weeks. Due to the low number of additional requests, they will continue sampling the week of March 9 and will not be sampling the week of March 2.
  • On March 4, 2020, EGLE received all results for the initial 134 samples taken during the first round of sampling.
  • On March 4, 2020, EGLE sent a Compliance Communication to the Emmet County Board of Commissioners regarding responsibilities under Part 201 of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, 1994 PA 451, as amended (NREPA). The County Board has been given an extension until May 1 to respond with a complete work plan. 
  • On March 10-11, 2020, EGLE’s contractor collected 27 residential samples.
  • On March 16, 2020, EGLE received 7 additional residential sample results. DHHS contacted residents regarding the results.  The results are reflected on the sampling chart.
  • On March 17, 2020, EGLE received 18 additional residential sample results. DHHS contacted residents regarding the results.  The results are reflected on the sampling chart.
  • Between March 16 - 19, 2020, EGLE received the remaining residential sample results from the March 10-11 sampling. DHHS contacted residents regarding the results. 
  • On April 1, 2020, EGLE’s contractor sampled five existing monitoring wells at the closed Pellston dump at the southern end of the green sampling area. Sampling was conducted to ensure the dump was not contributing to PFAS contamination in Pellston. Results are expected by the end of the month.
  • On April 7, 2020, HDNW reported a total of 74 locations where at least one PFAS was detected in a private well. The locations have received water vouchers until point of use filters can be installed.  To date, 64 point of use filters had been installed and replacement cartridges had been provided. Plumbing contractors continue to facilitate filter installations to affected residents.
  • On April 7, 2020, DHHS reported that results letters had been mailed to all residents that were sampled to date.