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Otsego Area Study, Otsego, Allegan County

Last Updated: December 9, 2020

EGLE Site Lead:
Chris Lantinga
Lantingac@Michigan.gov
(269) 548-7182

Background

In April 2018, in response to community health concerns, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) compiled a list of known sites of environmental contamination within the greater Otsego area.  Landfills and paper mills were identified as potential areas of interest. Paper sludge that was used as a soil amendment (a material added to soil to make it better for plant growth and health) on local farm fields was also identified as a potential concern. Also identified as a concern was black liquor, a byproduct of paper production, which had been applied to local roads to reduce dust.  In response to these concerns, EGLE conducted a multi-phase investigation which included collecting samples from landfill monitoring wells, residential drinking water wells, ponds next to landfills, soils in select farm fields, and soils from select local roads.

Regional groundwater discharges to the Kalamazoo River, which discharges ultimately into Lake Michigan. Shallow regional groundwater flows generally to the south southwest for properties located north of the Kalamazoo River, while shallow regional groundwater flows generally to the north northwest for properties located south of the Kalamazoo River.

Recent Accomplishments

  • In June of 2020, EGLE resumed the focused soil and groundwater investigation to evaluate the source of the elevated PFAS concentrations previously identified in the Hazelwood Subdivision residential wells. Soil and groundwater samples were collected at the two-remaining down-gradient locations thereby concluding the targeted Hazelwood soil and groundwater investigation. A total of 15 soil samples and 50 groundwater samples were collected from the four boring locations and analyzed for PFAS compounds.
  • Based on the results of the Hazelwood investigation, EGLE identified all residential wells located side- gradient and down-gradient of fields where PFAS was previously detected during the soil study.  EGLE identified a total of 51 residential wells and sent out letters to residents requesting access to sample their respective drinking water wells. EGLE has collected a total of 38 samples to date and has identified two samples to date with exceedances of the maximum contaminant levels (MCLs), the newly established PFAS drinking water standards.
  • From August 31 through October 2020, additional soil, groundwater, and surface water sampling occurred on and around the former Menasha paper landfill by Menasha and its’ contractors in accordance with a work plan reviewed and approved by EGLE.  EGLE and its contractor performed oversight of the ongoing Menasha investigation and collected split samples from each soil, groundwater, and surface water sample and is in the process of evaluating the results.  EGLE and its contractor collected a total of 70 soil samples, 3 groundwater samples, and 5 surface water samples for PFAS analysis.
  • On December 2, 2020 EGLE co-hosted a public meeting  with Allegan County Health Department and Department of Health and Human Services to provide an update to the affected community to ensure all aspects of the investigations and results--both past and recent--are fully communicated.

Next Steps

  • EGLE will continue collecting residential drinking water samples for PFAS analysis down-gradient of know fields with historical paper sludge application.
  • EGLE is working to identify additional fields that historically received paper sludge application from historical knowledge

Residential Well Testing

  • Allegan County Health Department provided filters and bottled water to residents with PFAS exceedances of the MCLs.

Upcoming Community Engagement

  • None scheduled at this time.

Sampling: PFOS and PFOA Only
Table reflects data compared to Part 201 Criteria Effective August 3, 2020

Type of Sample

Date Sampled
(or range)

Number of Sample 
Results Received

Number of Samples above
PFOS Criteria

Number of Samples above
PFOA Criteria

Drinking Water1 September 2020 38 0 2
Groundwater2 September 2020 5 2 5
Surface Water3 October 2020 5 5 0
Cumulative   48 7 7

1Residential well results are compared to EGLE Part 201 Criteria of PFOS 16 ppt or PFOA 8 ppt.
2Groundwater results are compared to EGLE Part 201 Criteria of PFOS 16 ppt or PFOA 8 ppt.
3Surface 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.

Maps/Figures

The following maps/figures reflect the ongoing sampling results at the Otsego Area Study:

Maps (Figures) for the Otsego Area of Interest

Map (Figure) Number and Description Map (Figure)

Figure 1: PFOA analytical results of all residential samples collected to date within the entire Otsego Area Study compared to the new PFOA criteria.

Figure 1 Otsego Area Residential Well Sampling PFOA Concentration

Figure 2: PFOS analytical results of all residential samples collected to date within the entire Otsego Area Study compared to the new PFOS criteria.

Figure 2 Otsego Area Residential Well Sampling PFOS Concentration

Figure 3: Surface water sample PFOA and PFOS analytical results at the Menasha Landfill from 2018 through 2020.

Figure 3 Otsego Area Menasha Landfill Surface Water Sampling Locations and Results

Figure 4: Groundwater sample PFOA and PFOS analytical results at the Menasha Landfill from 2018 through 2020.

Figure 4 Otsego Area Menasha Landfill Groundwater Sampling Locations and Results

Figure 5: The locations and results of the soil and surface water sampling conducted on the Menasha Landfill. 

Figure 5 Otsego Area Menasha Landfill Soil Sampling Locations and Results

Figure 6: Cross Section depicting recent soil and groundwater samples collected and analyzed for PFAS at the Menasha Landfill. 

Figure 6 Otsego Area Cross Section of Soil and Groundwater Samples
Figure 7: Cross Section depicting recent soil and groundwater samples collected and analyzed for PFAS at the Menasha Landfill. Figure 7 Otsego Area Cross Section of Soil and Groundwater Samples
Figure 8: PFOA analytical results of the expanded residential sampling performed at Hazelwood Drive in Otsego Township compared to the new PFOA criteria. Figure 8 Otsego Area Hazelwood Drive Area Residential Well Sampling PFOA
Figure 9: PFOS analytical results of the expanded residential sampling performed at Hazelwood Drive in Otsego Township compared to the new PFOS criteria. Figure 9 Otsego Area Hazelwood Drive Area Residential Well Sampling PFOS
Figure 10: Groundwater flow direction map boring/temporary well locations for the Hazelwood focused remedial investigation. Figure 10 Otsego Area Groundwater Flow Direction Map
Figure 11: Cross Section depicting recent soil and groundwater samples collected and analyzed for PFAS from the Hazelwood Drive Investigation. Figure 11 Otsego Area Cross Section of Soil and Groundwater Samples
Figure 12: PFOA analytical results of the expanded residential sampling performed at 2nd Street in Alamo Township compared to the new PFOA criteria. Figure 12 Otsego Area 2nd Street Area Residential Well Sampling PFOA
Figure 13: PFOS analytical results of the expanded residential sampling performed at 2nd Street in Alamo Township compared to the new PFOS criteria. Figure 13 Otsego Area 2nd Street Area Residential Well Sampling PFOS

Figure 14: The locations and PFOS analytical soil results of the farm fields that received historical paper sludge amendments.

Figure 15: the locations and PFOA analytical soil results of the farm fields that received historical paper sludge amendments.

Figure 16: the locations and PFOS analytical soil results of the roadways that received historical black liquor application for dust control purposes.

Figure 10 Otsego Area Road Sampling PFOS Results

Figure 17: the locations and PFOA analytical soil results of the roadways that received historical black liquor application for dust control purposes.

Figure 11 Otsego Area Road Sampling PFOA Results

Figure 18: the residential well locations and regional groundwater flow contours overlain with the PFOS analytical soil results of the farm fields that received historical paper sludge amendments.

Figure 12 Otsego Area Groundwater Contours and Residential Well Locations

 

Historical Timeline

  •  In mid-July of 2018, EGLE’s contractor AECOM collected 56 residential drinking water samples within the greater Otsego Area Study. In late July of 2018, AECOM collected 5 groundwater samples from monitoring wells associated with the Menasha Landfill. On August 30, 2018, AECOM collected 6 residential drinking water samples based on responses to door hangers left during initial residential well sampling event conducted in mid-July. AECOM also collected two surface water samples from Ponds 1 and 2 located north of the Menasha Landfill.
  • In the fall of 2018, EGLE collected water samples for PFAS analysis from wells at all municipal water supplies, schools, childcare providers, and head start programs within the greater Otsego area. For information on a specific supply, visit the Statewide Testing Initiative page.
  • In early September of 2018, EGLE's contractor AECOM collected 5 groundwater samples from the A-1 and Rock-Tenn landfills.  
  • On October 3, 2018, AECOM collected 3 surface water samples from ponds 3, 4, and 5 located to the north of the Menasha Landfill.  
  • On November 1, 2018, EGLE's contractor AECOM collected 3 surface water samples from ponds 6, 7, and 8 located to the south of the Menasha Landfill. PFAS was identified in the surface water samples collected from all eight ponds.
  • From October 31 through November 20, 2018, EGLE’s contractor AECOM collected an additional 20 residential drinking water samples within a 1-mile radius of the Menasha Landfill based on surface water sample results. None of the residential wells within the vicinity of the Landfill had detections of PFAS.
  • In late March through April of 2019, EGLE collected soil samples from multiple farm fields and several residential locations identified as having received historical paper sludge application. A total of 111 soil samples were collected. In June of 2019, EGLE collected soil samples from roadway locations identified as having received historical black liquor application as a road binder. A total of 17 soil samples were collected. EGLE also collected 3 additional soil samples to evaluate the cap and subsurface waste material at the Menasha landfill. EGLE also collected 1 surface water sample at the Landfill in June of 2019. On June 28, 2019, EGLE’s contractor AECOM collected samples from Ponds 1, 2 and 3 at the property owner’s request.
  • From September 26 through October 3 of 2019, EGLE’s contractor AECOM collected 20 residential drinking water samples from shallow wells with screens less than or equal to 50 feet deep and downgradient from fields with PFAS soil sample detections. Two residential wells located on Hazelwood Drive and 2nd Street located in Otsego Township and Alamo Township, respectively, contained PFAS.
  • Based on the results of the September through October 2019 residential drinking water results, EGLE’s contractor AECOM collected 38 residential drinking water samples in the Hazelwood Drive and 2nd Street areas to evaluate the extent of PFAS contamination.
  • On March 17, 2020, EGLE began an investigation to determine the source of elevated PFAS concentrations in residential wells in the Hazelwood Subdivision by testing soil and groundwater at a farm with elevated PFAS levels. The investigation included collection of continuous soil and groundwater samples from the surface to a depth of 110 feet below ground surface at two boring locations on the farm field. A piezometer was installed at each location for the purpose of collecting groundwater elevation measurements. Two additional downgradient locations were also investigated. Soil samples and groundwater measurements were collected. Groundwater sampling activities were not completed as site work was suspended on March 23 as a result of the Governor’s executive order related to COVID-19.