Skip to main content

Muskegon County Airport Area (Norton Shores, Muskegon County)

EGLE Site Lead: Peter Van Heest, VanHeestP@Michigan.gov or 616-439-8019. Content last updated July 12, 2022.

Background

Muskegon County Airport is located at 99 Sinclair Drive.  Based on Federal Aviation guidelines, the airport was required to conduct regular firefighting training using firefighting foam, also known as Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF).  Given this historical information and the presence of residential drinking water wells, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) requested that Muskegon County sample residential wells in the vicinity of former firefighting training areas.  Residential well sampling began in August 2018.  Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) were detected at concentrations exceeding the Lifetime Health Advisory in several of the homes in the initial residential well sample area.  The sample area has been expanded several times in order to identify the limits of PFAS impact.

Mona Lake is located adjacent to the airport. Several small creeks flow to the west and northwest from the airport. Groundwater flow direction varies throughout the site. Dominant flow directions are to the north, northwest, and west.

Muskegon County Airport Drinking Water Well Sample Area Map

Recent Accomplishments

  • In April 2022, EGLE awarded a grant to the City of Norton Shores for the city to install watermains to provide city water connections to an estimated 76 homes near Muskegon County Airport that are currently serviced by well water. Streets, or portions of streets, that will be provided with watermains under this grant are, Petrie Avenue, Wilson Avenue, Seng Road, Kunz Street, the extension of Sunny Ridge Street south of Eugene Avenue, the extension of Aue Road east of Miller Road, Keller Drive, and a private drive south of Porter Road. Construction of the watermains is expected to begin in 2023.
  • Based upon resampling results, the sample area was expanded in July 2022 to include 17 additional homes serviced by drinking water wells located east of Grand Haven Road on portions of Bellway Avenue, Esther Avenue, and East Byron Road. Sampling is expected to begin in late-August 2022.

Next Steps

  • The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is conducting resampling of residential drinking water wells that were previously sampled as part of this investigation. Letters requesting permission to collect samples were mailed to residents in mid-April and the initial round of resampling is taking place beginning in early-May. If you have questions about the DHHS resampling, please contact Bill Farrell at FarrellW@Michigan.gov or 517-243-5350.

Residential Well Testing/Alternate Water Information

  • Public Health Muskegon County is offering point-of-use filters to each house in the drinking water well sample area with detections of any PFAS compound.
  • Please refer to the map on this page for a depiction of the current drinking water well sample area. If you live within the sample area and have not yet had your drinking well sampled for PFAS, please contact Peter VanHeest, EGLE project manager, at 616-439-8019 or VanHeestP@Michigan.gov to arrange to have your well sampled.

Upcoming Community Engagement

  • None scheduled at this time.

Sampling Results Summary

This chart reflects data received after 8/3/2020. Data prior to 8/3/2020 is reflected in the timeline below.

This table was updated to include all seven PFAS criteria effective 12/21/2020.

Type of Sample

Date Sampled (or Range)

Number of Sample Results Received

Number of Samples above Criteria*

Residential Wells September 2020 - March 2022 3 0

Groundwater Wells

December 2020 12 2
Surface Water August 2020 4 1

*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 is captured in the historical timeline below.
  • The August 2020 surface water samples were collected by EGLE as part of a 2020 assessment of Mona Lake watershed. These results are included due to their proximity to Muskegon County Airport. Note that the surface water sample above criteria was a sample collected from Mona Lake north of the runway for Muskegon County Airport. PFOS was detected in that sample at a concentration of 14.7 ppt. The three surface water samples with PFAS concentrations below Criteria were collected from the creek system west/southwest of Muskegon County Airport.

Resources

Historical Timeline

    • In August 2018, and continuing through the spring of 2019, Muskegon County sampled the drinking well water from 127 homes. Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) were detected in samples from six homes in the Muskegon County investigation area at concentrations exceeding the Lifetime Health Advisory (LHA) of 70 parts per trillion (ppt). Muskegon County provided bottled water and point of use filters to these homes.
    • Due to public interest in this site, EGLE created an Area of Interest writeup on the MPART web site in January 2019.
    • In the summer of 2019, EGLE provided funding to connect municipal water to six homes where exceedances of the LHA were detected.
    • In late August and September 2019, EGLE sampled drinking water wells at additional homes in the vicinity of an airplane crash that occurred on airport property in the early 1980s. Based upon detections of moderate levels (below LHA) of PFOS+PFOA in several drinking wells in this area, EGLE expanded the sample area to include additional homes to the east of the airport. One additional home in this expansion area had a detection of PFOS+PFOA above the LHA.
    • On October 7, 2019, EGLE started an environmental investigation which consisted of the collection of soil and groundwater samples on and near the airport and the measurement of water table elevations. This information has provided more information regarding the distribution of PFAS contamination. Several areas of significant PFAS contamination were identified. The highest PFOS+PFOA detection in a sample collected from a groundwater monitoring well (environmental sampling well, not used for drinking) was 49,680 ppt. This groundwater monitoring well was located near the center of the airport by a former firefighting training area.
    • From October to December 2019, EGLE resampled homes that were previously sampled by Muskegon County in order to monitor conditions. The resampling effort identified two homes that had detections of PFOS+PFOA above the LHA during the second sample event but had been below the LHA in the previous sample event.
    • In December 2019, six additional homes were connected to municipal water by Norton Shores using funds provided by EGLE.
    • Based upon groundwater flow information and the results of the environmental investigation, EGLE sampled an additional 17 homes to the northwest and north of the airport in February and early March 2020.   
    • EGLE funded the connection of 9 additional homes which had PFAS-impacted well water to the municipal water system. This brings the total number of municipal water connections funded by EGLE to 25.

    Historical Sampling Table:

    Data is reflective of criteria prior to August 3, 2020: PFOS and PFOA Only. This table reflects data received prior to August 3, 2020.

    Type of Sample

    Date Sampled (or Range)

    Number of Samples

    Number of Results Received

    Number of Non-Detects  Number Between Non-detect and Standard*  Number Greater Than or Equal to Standard 
     Drinking Water (Residential) August 2018 - Present  169 169 45 115 9

    Groundwater

    October - Present 41 41 15 14 12
    Surface Water October 2019 4 4 0 4 0
     Cumulative   214 214 60 133 21
    *Groundwater results are compared to EGLE Part 201 Criteria of 70 ppt PFOS+PFOA.
    *Residential well results are compared to the USEPA Lifetime Health Advisory Level 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 December 2020, EGLE installed and sampled additional groundwater monitoring wells in areas around the airport to better determine groundwater flow direction offsite.
    • In March 2021, EGLE received the sampling results from the December 2020 sampling event. Twelve groundwater samples were collected from the newly installed monitoring wells. Two groundwater samples were above criteria.
    • Based upon information gathered during the December 2020 phase of environmental investigation, EGLE expanded the drinking water well sample area further to the west.
    • In the fall of 2021, four additional homes that had PFAS-impacted wells were connected to the municipal water supply using EGLE funding. This brings the total number of municipal water connections funded by EGLE to 29.