Wayne County, Detroit, Gordie Howe International Bridge

Updated: February 13, 2020

Gordie Howe International Bridge Parcel MapBackground

This site is the future location of the Gordie Howe International Bridge U.S. Port of Entry (Customs Plaza). It is approximately bounded by Fort Street to the north, Jefferson to the south and Green Street and Campbell to the west and east in Detroit. It’s approximately 190 acres of historical heavy industrial, commercial, and residential properties in southwest Detroit. A Restrictive Covenant is currently in place to prohibit the construction and use of wells to extract groundwater for any potable purposes (e.g., drinking, irrigation, etc.).

The site is currently under construction with on-going geotechnical and structural testing being completed by the contractor, Bridging North America (BNA) with an estimated completion date of December 2024.

Recent Accomplishments

  • Ongoing discussions with MDOT, WDBA and BNA at regular environmental meetings occur to ensure that impacted PFAS soil and groundwater are adequately managed during the bridge design and construction phase.
  • As of February 13, 2020, no additional soil or groundwater samples have been collected.

Next Steps

  • A Soil Management Plan has been prepared by The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT, Owner) for the bridge project. The bridge contractor, BNA has both soil and water management plans. These plans include PFAS management.
  • MDOT is working to follow Due Care requirements for PFAS as outlined in the Soil Management Plan. The plan states that soils with elevated PFAS and other contaminants will be managed on-site in accordance with the Due Care requirements. Although PFAS is an emerging contaminant of concern, data results indicate that soil PFAS concentrations represent a potential risk with respect to the proposed future use of the Site (such as additions of storm water drainage systems or retention ponds). Therefore, PFAS will be managed under a Restrictive Covenant to prohibit the use of groundwater from the site as drinking water. The Restrictive Covenant will include activity and land use limitations to prohibit the construction and use of wells to extract groundwater.
  • The Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA) and their contractor BNA starting construction activities in Spring 2019 through December 2024 and are also maintaining due care.

Residential Well Testing/Alternate Water Information

  • Not applicable; all residents in the area are connected to municipal water. Drinking water in the area is municipal from the city of Detroit.
  • The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) has sampled all municipal water supplies for PFAS. The city of Detroit purchases water from GLWA. View the results for GLWA. 

Upcoming Community Engagement

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

Type of Sample

Date Sampled

# of Samples

# of Results Received

# of Non-detects

# Between Non-detect and standard*

# > Standard

Groundwater

Sep 2018 19 19 0 10 9
Groundwater Jan 2019 3 3 0 3 0

Cumulative

  22 22 0 13 9

*Groundwater results are compared to EGLE Part 201 Criteria of 70 ppt PFOS+PFOA.

Sampling notes

  • Other PFAS analytes were detected in samples.
  • In addition to groundwater, 45 soil sample borings were taken at MDOT Parcels 5320, 5321, 5411, 5447, 5675, 5691 & 5698.

Gordie Howe International Bridge Historical Timeline

This site is located near Zug Island in Detroit and is the future location of the Gordie Howe International Bridge U.S. Port of Entry (Customs Plaza). The site is approximately bounded by Fort Street to the north, Jefferson to the south and Green Street and Campbell to the west and east. It is approximately 190 acres of historical heavy industrial, commercial, and residential properties and right-of-ways in southwest Detroit (Delray Area).

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) conducted environmental sampling as part of the property acquisition process. MDOT is the underlying property owner and has due care obligations along with the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA) and Bridging North America (BNA). These due care obligations include actions that must be taken to protect people from exposure to contamination present on-site.

Properties were selected for PFAS sampling based on past industrial operations associated with PFAS use, and those that were accessible for sampling.

Although the extent of PFAS in the groundwater has not been defined, the risk of impact to the nearest waterbody—the Detroit River—is low since the sites are located over a half-mile from the study area. The status of this pathway could change in the future with the addition of storm water drainage systems or retention ponds. BNA is aware of this potential and is designing the stormwater management features accordingly.

  • On September 6-26, 2018, the MDOT had their consultant sample groundwater and soils for PFAS.
    • The highest results for groundwater were 710 ppt PFOS+PFOA, 1,982 ppt Total Tested PFAS.
    • The highest results for soils were 28,000 ppt Total Tested PFAS.
  • On January 17, 2019, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) received the report from MDOT.
  • On January 29, 2019, MDOT collected additional groundwater samples to test for PFAS. The highest results were 20 ppt PFOS+PFOA and 34 ppt Total Tested PFAS.
  • On September 18, 2019, MDOT submitted additional data results from their January 29, 2019 sampling event.  This data was not included in the original January 17, 2019 report submitted to EGLE.