Chippewa County, Kinross Township, Kincheloe Air Force Base (KAFB)

Updated: July 10, 2020

BackgroundFormer Kincheloe AFB PFAS Investigation Area Map

The former KAFB covers 7,265 acres and consisted of airstrips, aircraft support and fueling facilities, fuel storage depots, command and control centers, training facilities, base housing and base landfills (e.g. Landfill 01). Starting in the early 1990s the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) began investigating these areas, some of which are ongoing. During some of these investigations USACE discovered significant soil and groundwater contamination, and as a result, implemented several interim response actions. For example, in the mid-2000s USACE constructed new municipal drinking water wells and pump house for Kinross Township to replace municipal wells impacted or threatened by chlorinated volatile organic compounds detected in the groundwater.

EGLE recently detected PFAS in groundwater at three potential PFAS source areas: Landfill 01 (LF01) located at the north end of KAFB; a former fuel storage area just north of the airport terminal; and a fire training area at the south end of the airport runway.

Groundwater flow at the KAFB is primarily south/southeast, except for LF01where the groundwater appears to flow in several directions.

There are two watersheds within the KAFB boundary. The Waiska River which is north of LF01 and the Munuscong River which is hydraulically downgradient from the fuel storage area and the fire training area (FTA).

Recent Accomplishments

  • In June, EGLE received analytical results from the May 11, 2020, surface water sample from Dukes Lake and 21 groundwater samples from Landfill 02 (LF 02) were received and evaluated.  The highest PFOS + PFOA groundwater was 4,410 ppt from the FTA. Results are summarized in the chart. 

Next Steps

  • EGLE will confer with USACE about other PFAS confirmed areas (Fuel Storage Area, FTA, and LF 02) requesting response actions for these locations.
  • EGLE will conduct additional PFAS residential well sampling to further evaluate risk from the FTA and LF 02.
  • EGLE will work on updating the site map to show latest sampling locations and results at LF 02, FTA, and Dukes Lake.

Residential Well Testing/Alternate Water Information

  • Two residential homes were offered point of use filters. 
    • One residence has confirmed installation. 

Upcoming Community Engagement

  • A second public meeting to update the community on the recent sampling results and explain additional sampling efforts scheduled for April 8, 2020 has been canceled. 
Sampling: PFOS and PFOA Only

Type of Sample

Date Sampled

# of Samples

# of Results Received

# of Non-detects

# Between Non-detect and standard*

# > Standard

Monitoring Wells

Aug 2019 - May 2020 45 45 16 17 12
Residential Wells Jan 2020 19 19 13 6 0
Surface Water May 2020 1 1 0 1 0

Cumulative

  65 65 29 24 12

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

Sampling Notes

  • None at this time.

Historical Timeline

The Department of Defense (DoD) acquired the Former Kincheloe Air Force Base (KAFB) in 1941 and operated it until1976. DoD officially closed KAFB in 1977.

In 1990 DoD identified the Former KAFB as a formerly use defense site (FUDS) property. As a FUDS property, DoD is responsible for environmental cleanup and restoration. The Army is the lead agency for the FUDS cleanup program; and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) manages the program on behalf of Army and DoD.

The KAFB covers 7,265 acres and consists of airstrips, aircraft support and fueling facilities, fuel storage depots, command and control centers, training facilities, base housing and base landfills (e.g. Landfill 01). Starting in the early 1990s USACE began investigating these areas, some of which are ongoing. During some of these investigations USACE discovered significant soil and groundwater contamination, and as a result, implemented several interim response actions. For example, in the mid-2000s USACE constructed new municipal drinking water wells and pump house for Kinross Township to replace municipal wells impacted or threatened by chlorinated volatile organic compounds detected in the groundwater.

Recently EGLE has detected PFAS in groundwater at three potential PFAS source areas: Landfill 01 located at the north end of the KAFB, a former fuel storage area just north of the airport terminal, and a fire training area at the south end of the airport runway.

Groundwater flow at the KAFB is primarily south/southeast, except for Landfill 01 where the groundwater appears to flow in several directions.

There are two watersheds within the KAFB boundary. The Waiska River which is north of Former LF01 and the Munuscong River which is hydraulically downgradient from the Former Fuel Storage Area and the Fire Training Area.

  • On August 5-9, 2019, EGLE’S contractor collected 24 groundwater samples from the Former KAFB.
  • On September 18, 2019, EGLE received the results from the August sampling event. The highest PFOS+PFOA result was 1,320 ppt, all of which was PFOA.
  • On October 11, 2019 EGLE notified USACE about EGLE detecting PFAS in groundwater samples from the Former KAFB.
  • On November 5, 2019, EGLE discussed groundwater analytical results and potential PFAS source areas with Kinross Township, Chippewa County Economic Development Corporation (EDC), Chippewa County International Airport, Chippewa County Health Department (CCHD), and Chippewa County Board of Directors. 
  • On November 6, 2019, EGLE had a conference call with Chippewa County Health Department and other team members to determine residential well sampling locations.
  • EGLE sent 20 access agreement letters dated January 6, 2020, to local residents where private well water sampling for PFAS is proposed.
  • A public meeting was held on January 15th at the Kinross Township Hall at 6:00 p.m. to discuss the residential well sampling effort.
  • In mid-January 2020, EGLE sampled 19 residential wells in a neighborhood which was potentially at risk from the PFAS contamination detected at the fire training area.
  • EGLE identified additional residential well sampling locations based on detections from January 2020 sampling effort.
  • EGLE notified residents by mail who were to have additional well sampling conducted in mid-April that this sampling is postponed.
  • EGLE has requested USACE investigate apparent releases of PFAS from the KAFB LF01. 
  • On February 5, 2020, EGLE received the sampling results from the residential well sampling in mid-January 2020.  Six samples had detections of PFAS but below the USEPA Lifetime Health Advisory level of 70 ppt PFOS + PFOA.  Results are reflected on the sampling chart.
  • By March 2, 2020, all homeowners whose wells were sampled were sent a copy of the analytical results along with other information regarding PFAS.
  • EGLE notified residents by mail who were to have additional well sampling conducted in mid-April that this sampling is postponed.