Muskegon County Airport Area, Muskegon, Muskegon County

Last Updated: April 14, 2021

EGLE Site Lead:
Peter Van Heest


Muskegon County Airport Drinking Water Well Sample Area MapBackground

Muskegon County Airport is located at 99 Sinclair Drive.  Based on Federal Aviation guidelines, the airport was required to conduct regular firefighting training using firefighting foam, also known as Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF).  Given this historical information and the presence of residential drinking water wells, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) requested that Muskegon County sample residential wells in the vicinity of former firefighting training areas.  Residential well sampling began in August 2018.  Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) were detected at concentrations exceeding the Lifetime Health Advisory in several of the homes in the initial residential well sample area.  The sample area has been expanded several times in order to identify the limits of PFAS impact.

Mona Lake is located adjacent to the airport. Several small creeks flow to the west and northwest from the airport. Groundwater flow direction varies throughout the site. Dominant flow directions are to the north, northwest, and west.

Recent Accomplishments

  • In December 2020, EGLE installed and sampled additional groundwater monitoring wells in areas around the airport to better determine groundwater flow direction offsite.
  • In March 2021, EGLE received the sampling results from the December 2020 sampling event.  Twelve groundwater samples were collected from the newly installed monitoring wells.  Two groundwater samples were above criteria.

Next Steps

  • Based upon information gathered during the December 2020 phase of environmental investigation, EGLE expanded the drinking water well sample area. Most of the homes in the expansion areas were confirmed to be serviced by the municipal water supply; however, two of the homes are serviced by drinking water wells. EGLE has requested permission to collect drinking well water samples from these homes. Please refer to the map on this page for a depiction of the current drinking water well sample area.

Residential Well Testing/Alternate Water Information

  • Public Health Muskegon County is offering point-of-use filters to each house in the drinking water well sample area with detections of any PFAS compound.


Upcoming Community Engagement

  • None scheduled at this time.

Sampling Results Summary
This chart reflects data received after 8/3/2020.  Data prior to 8/3/2020 is reflected in the timeline below. 
This table was updated to include all seven PFAS criteria effective 12/21/2020.

Type of Sample

Date Sampled (or Range)

Number of Sample Resutls Received

Number of Samples above Criteria

Residential Wells September 2020 1 0
Groundwater Wells December 2020 12 2


* 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).

Historical Timeline

  • In August 2018, and continuing through the spring of 2019, Muskegon County sampled the drinking well water from 127 homes. Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) were detected in samples from six homes in the Muskegon County investigation area at concentrations exceeding the Lifetime Health Advisory (LHA) of 70 parts per trillion (ppt). Muskegon County provided bottled water and point of use filters to these homes.
  • Due to public interest in this site, EGLE created an Area of Interest writeup on the MPART web site in January 2019.
  • In the summer of 2019, EGLE provided funding to connect municipal water to six homes where exceedances of the LHA were detected.
  • In late August and September 2019, EGLE sampled drinking water wells at additional homes in the vicinity of an airplane crash that occurred on airport property in the early 1980s. Based upon detections of moderate levels (below LHA) of PFOS+PFOA in several drinking wells in this area, EGLE expanded the sample area to include additional homes to the east of the airport. One additional home in this expansion area had a detection of PFOS+PFOA above the LHA.
  • On October 7, 2019, EGLE started an environmental investigation which consisted of the collection of soil and groundwater samples on and near the airport and the measurement of water table elevations. This information has provided more information regarding the distribution of PFAS contamination. Several areas of significant PFAS contamination were identified. The highest PFOS+PFOA detection in a sample collected from a groundwater monitoring well (environmental sampling well, not used for drinking) was 49,680 ppt. This groundwater monitoring well was located near the center of the airport by a former firefighting training area.
  • From October to December 2019, EGLE resampled homes that were previously sampled by Muskegon County in order to monitor conditions. The resampling effort identified two homes that had detections of PFOS+PFOA above the LHA during the second sample event but had been below the LHA in the previous sample event.
  • In December 2019, six additional homes were connected to municipal water by Norton Shores using funds provided by EGLE.
  • Based upon groundwater flow information and the results of the environmental investigation, EGLE sampled an additional 17 homes to the northwest and north of the airport in February and early March 2020.   
  • EGLE funded the connection of 9 additional homes which had PFAS-impacted well water to the municipal water system. This brings the total number of municipal water connections funded by EGLE to 25.
  • Historical Sampling Chart: data is reflective of criteria prior to 8/3/2020:

    PFOS + PFOA Only
    This chart reflects data received prior to 8/3/2020.

    Type of Sample

    Date Sampled

    Number of Samples

    Number of Results Received

    Number of Non-detects

    Number Between Non-detect and Standard*

    Number of > Standard
    Drinking Water (Residential) Aug 2018 - Present 169 169 45 115 9
    Groundwater Oct - Present 41 41 15 14 12
    Surface Water Oct 2019 4 4 0 4 0
    Cumulative   214 214 60 133 21





    *Groundwater results are compared to EGLE Part 201 Criteria of 70 ppt PFOS+PFOA.
    *Residential well results are compared to the USEPA Lifetime Health Advisory Level of 70 ppt PFOS+PFOA.

    *Surface water results are compared to Rule 57 surface water quality values of 12 ppt (PFOS) and 12,000 ppt (PFOA).