Fort Gratiot Area of Interest, Fort Gratiot Township, St. Clair County

Updated: April 23, 2020

Background

Fort Gratiot Area of Interest MapMichigan is investigating the presence of PFAS in drinking water supplies, groundwater, lakes, streams, and at sites of known environmental contamination.  State officials began investigating PFAS in Fort Gratiot Township near the closed Fort Gratiot Landfill in late 2018.  This investigation led to sampling in nearby streams and drains.  Elevated levels of PFAS were found in several drains and warrants further investigation.

There is no evidence of any impact on municipal drinking water. The township receives drinking water from the city of Port Huron water system.  This water has been tested multiple times and PFAS has not been detected. 

There is currently no data to suggest a risk to public health or negative impacts on recreational bodies of water used for fishing, swimming, and boating in the township.  However, water in drainage ditches contains runoff from farmland, roads, and parking lots and is generally of poor quality.  The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) recommends hand washing and rinsing pets with fresh water if they contact water from drainage ditches or storm water retention ponds.

Recent Accomplishments

  • Bluegill and crappie were collected from the Fort Gratiot pond on Parker Road in February 2020 and will be analyzed for PFAS in the fall of 2020.
  • In 2019, bluegill and sunfish were sampled from Fort Gratiot Pond at McIntyre Park as part of the statewide Eat Safe Fish Program.  This is a catch and release pond.  The fish samples were tested for various contaminants including PFOS.  The PFOS levels ranged from non-detect to 8 parts per billion (ppb) and averaged less than 3 ppb. This is well below MDHHS Fish Consumption Screening Values for PFOS.  MDHHS will, however, be issuing a Fish Consumption Advisory for the pond in the future due to mercury levels measured in the fish being higher than the statewide mercury average.
  • EGLE has conducted several rounds of sampling to evaluate the presence of PFAS in surface waters (streams and drains) in this area.  Since 2018, a total of 209 surface water samples have been collected. The PFOS concentrations in these samples ranged from non-detect (<0.2 parts per trillion) to 11,000parts per trillion (ppt).  Overall, results suggest that some surface waters in the area have elevated levels of PFAS, specifically PFOS.
  • EGLE has put together a summary report of surface water sampling conducted in the area through November 2019
  • In December 2019, EGLE confirmed one source of PFAS to surface waters in this area.  The source was an agricultural field that received biosolids from a local municipal Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) in the 1980s.  Testing confirmed elevated PFAS levels, specifically PFOS, in soils and surface water where the biosolids were applied.  The levels of PFOS in surface water correspond to levels seen in prior surface water sampling events.   
  • EGLE is working to track other potential sources in the area, which may include sampling near other agricultural fields that received biosolids applications prior to 1990.  As additional information is learned additional testing of fields, surface waters, etc., may be conducted to confirm and/or rule out sources.

PFAS Investigations at Related Industrial Sites of Interest

Next Steps

  • Fish collections from the Black River and the Black River Canal are planned for 2020.
  • EGLE will continue to determine the source(s) of PFAS in the streams and drains.  It is expected that more sampling will be done in the coming months to understand the scope of the issue and identify sources.
  • EGLE will continue to work with the MDHHS and the St. Clair County Health Department to review new information as it becomes available and determine whether additional residential well sampling is necessary.

Upcoming Community Engagement

  • None scheduled 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
Drinking Water (Residential Wells) Nov 2018 - Dec 2019 5 5 5 0 0
Groundwater 2018 - 2019 49 49 17 16 16
Surface Water 2018 - 2019 209 209 17 142 50
Cumulative   263 263 39 158 66

* Groundwater results are compared to EGLE Part 201 Criteria of 70 ppt PFOS+PFOA.
* Surface water samples are compared to Rule 57 non-drinking water values of 12 ppt for PFOS and 12,000 ppt for PFOA.
 * Residential well results are compared to the EPA LHA of 70 ppt PFOS+PFOA.

 

Groundwater / Surface Water / Sediment Results Maps

Fort Gratiot Landfill Groundwater Results Map   Fort Gratiot Landfill Surface Water Results Map

State officials began investing PFAS near the closed Fort Gratiot landfill due to work conducted by Port Huron WWTP as part of the IPP PFAS Initiative

  The results of the of groundwater sampling conducted by EGLE near the landfill led to surface water sampling in nearby streams and drains. 
Fort Gratiot Area Surface Water Results Nov 2019   Fort Gratiot Area Surface Water Results 2 Nov 2019
Overview map of surface water PFOS concentrations (ng/L) at locations in Ft. Gratiot and Burtchville Townships / St. Clair County and Worth Township / Sanilac County from samples collected in November 2019.  The blue area is the Willow Creek watershed whereas the red area is the Black River watershed.  Concentrations exceeding the Rule 57 Human Health Value are displayed as red circles.   Overview map of surface water PFOS concentrations (ng/L) at locations in in Fort Gratiot and Burtchville Townships / St. Clair County and Worth Township / Sanilac County from samples collected in November 2019.  The blue area is the Willow Creek watershed whereas the red area is the Black River watershed.  Concentrations exceeding the Rule 57 Human Health Value are displayed as red circles.
Fort Gratiot Area Sediment Results Nov 2019   Fort Gratiot Area Surface Water Results PFOS Black River
Overview map of sediment PFOS concentrations (µg/kg) at locations in Fort Gratiot and Burtchville Townships / St. Clair County from samples collected in November 2019.  The blue area is the Willow Creek watershed whereas the red area is the Black River watershed.  

Overview map of surface water PFOS concentrations (ppt) at locations in Ft. Gratiot Township from samples collected in December 2019. The blue area is the Mill Creek-Frontal Lake Huron watershed, whereas the red area is the Black River watershed. Concentrations exceeding the Water Quality Value for PFOS of 12 ppt are displayed as red circles.

Fort Gratiot Area Surface Water Results PFOS Black River    
Overview map of surface water PFOS concentrations (ppt) at locations along Burtch Creek from samples collected in December 2019. The blue area is the Mill Creek-Frontal Lake Huron watershed whereas the red area is the Black River watershed. Concentrations exceeding the Water Quality Value for PFOS of 12 ppt are displayed as red circles.    

Images of the area

Grassy area with a drain running through itGrassy area with a drain running through it