St. Clair County, Fort Gratiot Township, Fort Gratiot Landfill

Fort Gratiot Landfill PFAS Sample Area MapUpdated: December 5, 2019

Background

This landfill operated from 1969 to 1994. During its operation, it accepted industrial waste, including paper pulp waste, paint sludge, and contaminated soil from environmental cleanup projects. In 1994 the landfill stopped accepting waste in response to a DNR Cease and Desist order. the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) currently oversees this site.

Recent Accomplishments

  • In November 2019, EGLE’s contractor installed temporary and permeant monitoring wells on offsite properties to the south, west, and north of the landfill.  The temporary wells were sampled to assess the offsite shallow groundwater.  EGLE should receive the results soon.

Next Steps

  • EGLE’s contractor will be surveying in the new southern offsite permeant monitoring wells to calculate the shallow groundwater flow direction.
  • The surface water investigation of the Howe/Brandymore Drain indicates multiple sources of PFAS in the Howe/Brandymore watershed. EGLE staff will be conducting further evaluation of the watershed. EGLE staff will also continue to delineate the shallow groundwater plume. Visit the Fort Gratiot Township area of interest page for more information.

Residential Well Testing/Alternate Water Information

  • Drinking water in the area is mostly municipal, from the city of Port Huron.
  • EGLE has sampled all municipal water supplies for PFAS. Fort Gratiot Township purchases water from the city of Port Huron. View the results for the city of Port Huron here.
  • Once shallow groundwater flow is determined around the landfill, additional drinking water wells may be identified further from the landfill and would be evaluated for possible PFAS sampling.
  • A newly identified drinking water well at a County garage off Parker Road was sampled by EGLE's contractor on April 26 and the results were Non-Detect.

Upcoming Community Engagement

  • None scheduled at this time.
Sampling: PFOS and PFOA Only

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

Groundwater

Dec 4, 2018 - Present 40 40 12 14 14
Surface Water Dec 5, 2018 - Present 16 16 0 8 8
Cumulative   47 56 12 22 22

*Groundwater results are compared to EGLE Part 201 Criteria 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.

Sampling notes

  • Other PFAS analytes were detected in samples. There are no federal or state standards for these analytes.
  • Surface water samples were collected from McIntyre Park, Kettlewell Pond, Ft. Gratiot Pond, Howe Drain, and an unnamed drain south of the property.

Fort Gratiot Landfill Historical Timeline

The Fort Gratiot Landfill site is located at 3290 Keewahdin Road in Fort Gratiot Township. The site was opened and operated from 1969 to 1994. The landfill was licensed for general refuse, and records suggest that during its operation the site accepted industrial waste including crushed barrels, paint sludge, paper pulp waste, and contaminated soil form environmental cleanup projects. In 1994, the landfill stopped accepting waste in response to the Michigan Department of natural Resources (MDNR) order to Cease and Desist. Due to the owner’s lack of financial capability, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) oversees post-closure maintenance and monitoring.

The landfill is located in the Black River watershed. Based on 2017 groundwater levels, the shallow groundwater is flowing towards the interceptor trench around the landfill. The surface water flow is to the southeast in the vicinity of the landfill.

This site was identified due to the results from EGLE’s proactive Industrial Pretreatment Program.

  • On May 5, 2018 personnel from the Port Huron Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) collected a sample from a sump (SP-6) on the landfill that contains groundwater and landfill leachate.
  • On August 7, 2018, EGLE received the results from the Port Huron WWTP sample. Results for SP-6 were 140 ppt PFOS, 30 ppt PFOA.
  • On September 26, 2018, EGLE contractor (AECOM) collected a groundwater/leachate sample from a different sump (SP-2) closer to the sanitary discharge for the landfill.  Also, a surface water sample from Fort Gratiot Pond was collected.
  • On October 5, 2018, EGLE identified two residential wells near the landfill and sought to test them. Only one well was tested on November 7, 2018; the other owner declined the offer.
  • On October 10, 2018, EGLE received the results for the groundwater/leachate and surface water sample. Results were:
    • The sump (SP-2) was 139 ppt PFOS, 84 ppt PFOA
    • Fort Gratiot Pond: 46 ppt PFOS, 28 ppt PFOA
  • On December 4 and 5, 2018, EGLE contractor (Wood) collected samples from 10 groundwater monitoring wells around the perimeter of the landfill property.
  • On December 5, 2018, EGLE contractor (Wood) took surface water samples from
    • Kettlewell Pond
    • McIntyre Park Pond
    • Unnamed Drain (S)
    • Howe Drain
  • On January 3, 2019, EGLE received the results for the surface water sampling. Results were:
    • Kettlewell Pond: non-detect (ND) for PFOS, 3 ppt PFOA.
    • McIntyre Park Pond: ND for PFOS, 6 ppt PFOA.
    • Unnamed Drain (S): 11 ppt PFOS, 16 ppt PFOA.
    • Howe Drain: 150 ppt PFOS, 42 ppt PFOA.
    • Due to these results, additional surface water samples will be collected in the Spring of 2019.
  • On January 3, 2019, EGLE received the results from the groundwater sampling. The highest result was 370 ppt PFOS+PFOA from one sample, and 3,141 ppt Total Tested PFAS from a different sample.
  • On February 4, 2019, EGLE turned the groundwater/leachate pumps off and they are no longer discharging to the Port Huron Waste Water Treatment Plant. EGLE is on-site weekly to check for leachate outbreaks and/or sumps overflowing on the property. The system will be started back up if any issues occur from being turned off. 
  • On April 24, 2019, EGLE's contractor (Wood) collected samples from 7 temporary monitoring wells installed on adjacent properties to the north, south, and east of the landfill. The highest result was 450 ppt PFOS+PFOA from one sample, and 578 ppt Total Tested PFAS from a different sample.
  • On April 24 and 25, 2019, EGLE's contractor (Wood) collected samples from 11 groundwater monitoring wells around the perimeter of the landfill property. The highest result was 421.9 ppt PFOS+PFOA from one sample, and 4,845 ppt Total Tested PFAS from a different sample.
  • On April 24, 2019, EGLE's contractor (Wood) took surface water samples from:
    • Kettlewell Pond
    • McIntyre Park Pond
    • 2 Unnamed Drains
    • Howe Drain (2 locations)
  • On April 26, 2019, EGLE's contractor (Wood) collected a drinking water sample from a Saint Clair County Drain Commissioner garage located west of the landfill. The results of the drinking water well was non-detect for PFAS.
  • On May 10, 2019, EGLE flew their drone with the heat camera over the landfill to assess any possible venting groundwater or leachate into the adjoining Fort Gratiot Pond.
  • On May 31, 2019, EGLE received the results for the surface water sampling. Results were:
    • Kettlewell Pond: non-detect 1.9 ppt for PFOS, 3 ppt PFOA.
    • McIntyre Park Pond: 2.67 ppt for PFOS, 4.57 ppt PFOA.
    • Unnamed Drain (SW-3): 11 ppt PFOS, 16 ppt PFOA.
    • Unnamed Drain (SW-6):  180 ppt PFOS, 21.3 ppt PFOA
    • Howe Drain (SW-4): 187 ppt PFOS, 42.1 ppt PFOA.
    • Howe Drain (SW-5):  202 ppt PFOS, 42.5 ppt PFOA
    • Due to these results, additional surface water samples will be collected July 1 and 2, 2019. 
    • Based on the two rounds of PFAS results for the two Township Park ponds and the deep aquifer show minimal to non-detect PFAS detections; no further PFAS sampling of the two park ponds and deep aquifer sampling are planned.
  • Wood was out on July 1-2, 2019,to collect additional shallow groundwater samples to the south, west, and north of the landfill.  Also, Wood collected additional up stream surface samples of the Howe and Brandymore Drain, along with resampling surface water locations sampled in December 2018 and April 2019.
  • On August 1, 2019, EGLE received the results for the surface water and offsite groundwater sampling. Results were:
    • Howe Drain (SW-4): 250 ppt PFOS, 64.2 ppt PFOA.
    • Howe Drain (SW-5):  383 ppt PFOS, 87.2 ppt PFOA
    • Brandymore Drain (SW-7): 544 ppt PFOS, 105 ppt PFOA
    • Brandymore Drain (SW-8): 5.46 ppt PFOS, 4.59 ppt PFOA
    • Unnamed Drain (SW-9): 6.91 ppt PFOS, 10.2 ppt PFOA
    • Unnamed Drain (SW-10): 3.81 ppt PFOS, 30.1 ppt PFOA
  • Due to these results, EGLE Water Division is looking into other sources of PFAS in the Howe/Brandymore Drains. As of October 2019 the area for surface water sampling has expanded due to elevated PFOS surface water results in various ditches in Fort Gratiot Township.  Water Division continues to take the lead on this surface water PFAS area wide issue.
  • EGLE RRD will evaluate shallow groundwater and surface water data to develop a sampling plan to delineate the shallow groundwater plume.
  • In September 2019, EGLE staff gained access to 3 large tracts of land to the north, southwest, and west of the landfill to further delineate the shallow groundwater plume to further investigate.
  • In October 2019, EGLE’s contractor sampled the shallow monitoring wells around the perimeter of the landfill property as part of the annual groundwater sampling event.  This was the third time these monitoring wells have been sampled for PFAS. EGLE should receive the results soon.