East Bay Township Area of Interest, Traverse City, Grand Traverse County
Last Updated: January 7, 2021
EGLE Site Lead:
Firefighting foam containing PFAS was stored and used at the United States Coast Guard (USCG) Air Station in Traverse City from 1978 to the current date and at the Cherry Capital Airport since the 1970s. Annual testing of the firefighting equipment resulted in discharges of the Firefighting foam containing PFAS was stored and used at the United States Coast Guard (USCG) Air Station in Traverse City from 1978 to the current date and at the Cherry Capital Airport since the 1970s. Annual testing of the firefighting equipment resulted in discharges of the firefighting foam to the ground.
Due to the presence of residential wells north of the Cherry Capital Airport and the USCG Air Station, Environment Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) staff collected water samples from temporary groundwater wells along the south side of Parsons Road in September 2020. These samples were collected to determine if the groundwater was contaminated with PFAS.
Groundwater sample results from the temporary monitoring wells showed PFAS in all 10 sampling locations. The contaminants were found from 15 to 54 feet below the ground surface. The PFOA concentrations were above the groundwater cleanup criteria of 8 ppt, with concentrations ranging from below detection limits to as high as 102 ppt. The PFOS concentration were also found above the groundwater cleanup criteria of 16 ppt, with concentrations ranging from below detection limits to 17,900 ppt.
The groundwater generally flows in a northeasterly direction toward East Grand Traverse Bay. The contamination was found approximately 2,050 feet from the Bay.
- In early November 2020, 15 of 18 residential wells were sampled for PFAS.
- On November 13, 2020, EGLE received the residential well sampling results. A townhall meeting was conducted with the area residents, local officials, DHHS and Grand Traverse County Health Department to discuss the sample results. Seven of the 15 residential wells sampled exceeded criteria. The highest result was 1300 ppt PFOS. Residents were provided alternate water or a water filter.
- On December 4, 2020, East Bay Township (EBT) solicited bids for connections to municipal water. Bids were evaluated and the contract awarded on December 21, 2020.
- On December 7, 2020, the remaining 3 residential wells were sampled by EGLE.
- On December 11, 2020, EGLE received the last 3 residential well sampling results. Two of the 3 wells sampled exceeded criteria. The highest result was 24 ppt of PFOS.
- During the week of December 14, 2020, the remaining 3 residents had either water filters installed or were provided alternate water.
- From December 14-23, 2020 the USCG conducted groundwater sampling.
- EGLE anticipates receiving draft reports with sampling result in January 2021 from the Cherry Capital Airport and in February 2021 from USCG.
- EGLE received funding for the municipal connections which will be awarded as a grant. If the grant is awarded to EBT, connections may begin by early February 2021.
Residential Well Testing/Alternate Water Information
- Bottled water was provided by the Grand Traverse County Health Department (GTCHD) to residents the week of October 19, 2020.
- Filters were provided by GTCHD the first 3 weeks of December 2020.
Upcoming Community Engagement
- A virtual townhall meeting is scheduled for January 25, 2021 from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. on Microsoft Teams to update the committee on the status of the investigation.
Sampling Results Summary
Type of Sample
Date Sampled (or range)
Number of Sample Results Received
Number of Samples above Criteria*
||November 5 - December 7, 2020
|Groundwater Monitoring Wells
||September 14 - 18, 2021
*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).
- White fish samples were taken in 2016 for PFAS analysis from East Grand Traverse Bay. PFOS in the fillets ranged from 3.0 to 12.2 parts per billion and did not warrant a consumption advisory due to PFOS.
- On April 2, 2020, EGLE requested the Cherry Capital Airport (CCA) to conduct a groundwater investigation due to its use of firefighting foam and the presence of residential wells in the groundwater flow path to the north-northeast of its property.
- On May 14, 2020 EGLE requested the USCG to conduct groundwater investigation due to its use of firefighting foam and the presence of residential wells in the groundwater flow path to the north-northeast of its property.
- The Geologic Service Section of EGLE completed the installation of 10 temporary wells the week of September 14-18, 2020. These locations were chosen to evaluate the risk to residential wells that may be located within the flow path of potential groundwater contaminant plumes from the USCG and CCA.
- A virtual meeting was held on October 15, 2020, with the local health department and DHHS to inform them of the contamination and the presence of residential wells in the area and to develop a plan for residential well sampling and for bottled water distribution.
- A virtual meeting was held on October 16, 2020 with local officials, the Cherry Capital Airport and USCG to update them on the contamination and presence of residential wells in the area and the plan for future sampling of these residential wells.
- On Oct 19 and 21, 2020, EGLE mailed letters ~30 residents that were known or suspected to be on private wells, including several homes that were offered municipal water at one point but may still be on their own wells.
- A virtual townhall meeting was held on October 26, 2020 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. with area residents, local officials and the general public to discuss the EGLE investigation, the residential well sampling and the provisions of bottled water.