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Helmer-Dickman Road Area of Interest (Battle Creek, Calhoun County)

EGLE Site Lead: Gregg Brettmann, BrettmannG@Michigan.gov or 269-567-3528. Webpage last updated May 2, 2022

Background

The Helmer-Dickman Road Area is an area located in portions of the City of Battle Creek, the City of Springfield and Bedford Township which originally included the Kellogg (Michigan) Air National Guard (ANG) base and the Battle Creek Executive Airport.  There are residential and commercial properties in the area and Fort Custer Industrial Park is located to the west. This area came to the attention of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) in January 2018 due to the likelihood that the military base used aqueous film forming foam (AFFF).  Since that time, PFAS investigations were conducted at the Kellogg Air National Guard Base, Battle Creek Executive Airport, and in the surrounding area.

Aerial Map of Helmer and Dickman Road Area, Battle Creek, Calhoun County

Recent Accomplishments

Next Steps

  • A report detailing other potential contaminant PFAS sources within the area is anticipated from EGLE’s contractor in the Spring/Summer 2022. Preparation of Work Plans and investigation into these other potential sources will follow.
  • EGLE is preparing to sample several monitoring wells in the area in the Spring of 2022.
  • EGLE will follow up on sampling requests for residential well testing.
  • EGLE will continue to work with the Department of Natural Resources to evaluate the need for additional fish studies and/or surface water sampling events.
  • Resampling of residential wells by DHHS is planned for Spring/Summer 2022.

Residential Well Testing/Alternate Water Information

  • 30 households have been provided filters by the Calhoun County Health Department.
  • 9 households were provided bottled water by the Calhoun County Health Department prior to installing a filter.
  • 1 household had their drinking water well replaced by the Community Action Agency and Calhoun County Health Department.
  • All residential well testing reflected on this report has been conducted by DHHS.

Upcoming Community Engagement

  • None scheduled at this time. 

Sampling Results Summary

This table reflects data received after August 3, 2020.  Data prior to August 3, 2020 is reflected in the timeline below. This table was updated to include all seven PFAS criteria effective December 21, 2020.


Type of Sample

Date Sampled
(or range)

Number of Sample Results Received

Number of Samples above Criteria*

Residential Wells

October 2020 - Present

51

9

* 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).
* Surface water samples are compared to Rule 57 non-drinking water values of 12 ppt for PFOS and 12,000 ppt for PFOA.

Sampling Notes

  • On August 3, 2020, new Part 201 Criteria went into effect. Historical sampling data compared to Part 201 Criteria >70 ppt PFOS + PFOA is captured in the historical timeline below.
  • Other PFAS analytes were detected in samples. There are no federal or state standards for these analytes.

Historical Timeline

    • In March 2018, EGLE began to gather residential drinking water well information, assess potential for PFAS groundwater impacts, and develop a strategy for investigating PFAS impacts beyond the military base property boundary but within a 1-mile radius of the Base.
    • On April 12, 2018, a public meeting was held with municipality officials and residents.
    • April 17-19, 2018, EGLE collected water samples from 27 residential wells, 1 commercial drinking water well, and 1 irrigation well.
    • Analytical results indicated 1 residential well had a concentration of 400 parts per trillion (ppt) PFOA, which exceeded the drinking water criteria, while 12 other wells had total PFOS+PFOA concentrations of 10-45 ppt. All other wells were less than 10 ppt. The one well that exceeded was initially provided with bottled water by the Calhoun County Health Department and later a point-of-use filter was installed.
    • In May 2018, the Air National Guard collected groundwater samples from the monitoring wells they installed on the Base in February. EGLE collected split samples at the same time. Analytical results were provided in their Final Site Investigation Report dated October 2018.
    • On May 31, 2018, EGLE held a meeting with municipality officials to discuss the sampling results from the April sampling event.
    • On June 5, 2018, EGLE collected samples from 2 additional monitoring wells, 1 commercial drinking water well and 1 irrigation well located within the 1-mile radius of the Michigan Air National Guard Base.
    • The Helmer-Dickman Road Area was expanded further north into Bedford Township due to PFAS detections observed in residential wells.
    • From June 13-15, 2018, EGLE collected water samples from 32 additional residential wells, and 1 irrigation well in Bedford Township.
    • July 16-17, 2018, analytical sample results were received for residential wells in Bedford Township. Results indicated 2 wells had PFOS+PFOA concentrations of 10-45 ppt and 30 wells were less than 10 ppt. No wells exceeded the Lifetime Health Advisory (LHA) criteria of 70 ppt.
    • On July 30, 2018, an Open House and Town Hall meeting was held for the public.
    • August 1-10, 2018, EGLE sampled 11 additional residential wells, and 1 Type II well following requests received during and after the July 30 Open House.
    • Filters have been provided by the Calhoun County Health Department to 25 homes in the Helmer-Dickman Road Area. Two homes have been provided replacement filters.
    • Bottled water was temporarily provided to 8 homes by the Calhoun County Health Department, but only until they had a filter installed.
    • August 2018, EGLE received analytical sample results for additional residential wells sampled in the Helmer-Dickman Road Area. Results indicated 5 wells had PFOS+PFOA concentrations of 10-45 ppt and 4 wells were less than 10 ppt. No wells exceeded the LHA criteria of 70 ppt.
    • See the Kellogg Air National Guard Base Battle Creek project for additional information. From October 29-31, 2018, fish were harvested from the Beaver Dam Pond, the Elks Lodge Pond and the Greene Pond within the Area. Analytical results from the Beaver Dam Pond study were received on March 27, 2019 (see below). Fish samples collected from the other two private Ponds may be submitted to the lab as well.
    • On December 20, 2018, EGLE collected 9 surface water samples along Helmer Creek and the Kalamazoo River. Analytical results indicated that 5 sample locations exceeded the Rule 57 surface water quality value of 12 ppt for PFOS with concentrations as high as 98 ppt. There were no Rule 57 surface water quality values that exceeded 12,000 ppt for PFOA.
    • On June 11, 2018, EGLE received results from the split samples from monitoring wells that were tested on the Base. Results show the presence of 13 PFAS compounds. The highest results were 21,500 ppt PFOA; 55,500 ppt PFOS; and 38,400 ppt PFHxS. This qualified the Battle Creek Air National Guard Base as an MPART site. See the Kellogg Air National Guard Base Battle Creek page for more information about activities that occurred at the base.
      • On February 13, 2019, fish were harvested, and one surface water sample was collected from Harts Lake within the Helmer-Dickman Road Area. Samples are being processed for submittal to a laboratory for analysis.
      • On February 28, 2019, received the results for the surface water sample collected from Harts Lake. Results were non-detect for PFOS and 1.2 ppt for PFOA.
      • On March 27, 2019, EGLE received results on the fish collected from the Beaver Dam Pond. Results indicated the 7 bluegill had an average PFOS concentration of 332 parts per billion which exceeds the 300 parts per billion concentration used for a “Do Not Eat” advisory.
      • On March 29, 2019, a “Do Not Eat” advisory was issued for fish from Beaver Dam Pond and Helmer Creek.
      • On April 1, 2019, additional fish samples previously harvested from the Elks Lodge Pond were submitted to the laboratory for analysis.
      • On May 13, 2019, EGLE received the analytical results for fish samples previously harvested from the Elks Lodge Pond. Results indicated that 9 of the 10 fish analyzed were all non-detect, with one fish having 9 parts per billion (ppb) PFOS which is well below the 300-ppb advisory level.
      • On May 20, 2019, a surface water sample was collected from the Elks Lodge Pond, one additional residential well was sampled, and the one residential well that previously exceeded the USEPA Lifetime Health Advisory (LHA) level was resampled. Results received on June 3, 2019, indicated both residential wells exceeded the LHA. Results on the surface water sample were non-detect for PFOS and 25 ppt for PFOA, which is well below the surface water quality values.  
      • On May 22, 2019, EGLE and MDHHS hosted a municipal update with Battle Creek, Springfield, and Bedford Township officials. This was not a public event.
      • On October 31, 2019, EGLE’s contractor AECOM, collected groundwater samples from 7 additional monitoring wells located within the area. Analytical results indicated three wells exceeded the 70 ppt PFOS + PFOA, 3-wells had detections of PFOS + PFOA concentrations but less than the 70 ppt, and one well was non-detect.
      • In December 2019, AECOM initiated activities to gain a better understanding of the groundwater aquifer and the presence and movement of PFAS within the aquifer. A Technical Memorandum Report dated September 2021 regarding these activities along with detailed cross-sections was provided.
      • On January 16, 2020, a new map was updated to this webpage.
      • In September 2020, the Battle Creek Executive Airport received a grant to conduct PFAS testing at the airport.

         

        Historical Sampling Chart: data is reflective of criteria prior to 8/3/2020:
        PFOS + PFOA Only
        This chart reflects data received prior to 8/3/2020.

        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

        Drinking water (Residential, Type I & II)

        Apr 2018 – August 2020

        77*

        77*

        50

        23

        4

        Groundwater

        May 2018 – August 2020

        12

        12

        3

        4

        5

        Surface Water

        Dec 2018 – August 2020

        11**

        11

        2

        4

        5

        EGLE Cumulative

         

        100

        100

        55

        31

        14

         

        * Drinking Water Results include 2 confirmation samples.

        * Residential well results are compared to EGLE Part 201 Criteria of 70 ppt and the EPA
          Lifetime Advisory Level of 70 ppt PFOS+PFOA.

        *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).

      • In November 2020, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) resampled residential wells in the Helmer-Dickman Road Area to document fluctuations of PFAS concentrations over time, to document that point of use filters were available and continue to be necessary, and to support decisions regarding long-term public health hazards associated with PFAS to area residents. Sample results were sent to each participating resident. 
    • On May 24, 2021, LimnoTech began an investigation at the Battle Creek Executive Airport.
    • In November 2021, EGLE received the phase 1 report from the Battle Creek Executive Airport showing six groundwater monitoring wells exceeded criteria, the highest of which had 995 ppt PFOS and 1,910 ppt PFHxS. This qualified the airport as an MPART site. Please see the Battle Creek Executive Airport page for additional details on that site investigation.
    • In January 2022, LimnoTech continued with a Phase II investigation at the Battle Creek Executive Airport into the PFAS areas of concern and installed some permanent monitoring wells and collected groundwater samples. A Phase II Report for these activities was provided in March 2022.
    • In April 2022, both the Kellogg Air National Guard Base and the Battle Creek Executive Airport became official MPART sites. See the Kellogg ANG Base and the Battle Creek Executive Airport for additional information regarding well sampling and response activities completed at these sites.