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Kavco Landfill (Plainwell, Barry County)
Please contact the Site Lead for the most up-to-date status of this site.
The Kavco Landfill is an 80-acre parcel located on West Day Road in Plainwell. The landfill operated as a licensed solid waste disposal facility from the 1960s to 1984. In December 1984, KAV Company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and the Kavco Landfill property subsequently tax reverted to the State. In the mid-1980s, the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) investigated the site and determined that the landfill was leaching contaminants to groundwater and was the source of residential well contamination. In addition, the investigation determined that the landfill was a source of explosive levels of methane gas found in the immediate proximity of the homes situated adjacent to the landfill.
Between 1987 and 2000, EGLE constructed a permanent water supply replacement for the subdivision and homes adjacent to the landfill consisting of new community water supply wells, a water tower, and connections for over 100 hundred residences. EGLE also installed a fence around the landfill, improved the existing landfill cap to prevent water infiltration and abate the loading of contaminants into the groundwater, and installed a landfill methane gas extraction system to eliminate the migration of methane gas generated by the landfill.
EGLE continues to manage the landfill and recently discovered PFAS in the existing groundwater monitoring well network above groundwater cleanup criteria during the initial PFAS investigation in May 2021.
Groundwater flow is to the west/northwest in the direction of Lake Doster, which is roughly 3/4 miles to the west.
Municipal water supply is available in the Lake Doster subdivision and properties west of the site. Samples from the Lake Doster municipal water supply wells were analyzed for PFAS in 2018 and 2021, results were below criteria and will continue to be sampled quarterly overseen by Gun Plain Township. Gun Plain Township has communicated results to municipal supply users.
DHHS, BECHD, and ACHD will provide residents with their drinking water results. EGLE will evaluate results of surface water investigation when received. EGLE will attempt to gain access to private property to expand its groundwater investigation south of the landfill.
- In May 2021, EGLE completed initial PFAS investigation and found PFAS above groundwater cleanup criteria. Five groundwater monitoring wells were sampled, one monitoring well was sampled at two different depths for a total of six groundwater samples. The highest result was 69 ppt for PFOA.
- On June 17, 2021, Barry-Eaton County (BECDH) and Allegan County (ALCH) Health Departments, EGLE and Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) held a meeting to review records for the presence of nearby drinking water receptors.
- On July 8, 2021, EGLE held a local officials call with DHHS, and the Barry-Eaton (BECHD) and Allegan County (ACHD) Health Departments.
- In August 2021, EGLE sampled 15 residential drinking water wells near Lake Doster and along Doster Road. All results were below EGLE's drinking water-cleanup criteria.
- On August 19, 2021, the Lake Doster Home and Lake Associations delivered a joint communication informing members of EGLE's ongoing PFAS investigation.
- On September 8 and 9, 2022, EGLE sampled 21 groundwater monitoring wells. 13 samples were above EGLE's groundwater clean-up criteria. The highest results were 471ppt (PFOA), and 27ppt (PFOS).
- Between March 15 - 17, 2022, DHHS resampled 15 residential drinking water locations. All results were below EGLE's drinking water cleanup criteria.
- On April 13, 2022, EGLE collected surface water samples from the landfill property; results are pending.
Sampling Results Summary
Type of Sample
Date Sampled (or range)
Number of Sample Results Received
Number of Samples above Criteria*
Groundwater Monitoring Wells
May 2021 - September 2021 27 13
August 2021 - March 2022 30 0
*Residential well and groundwater monitoring well results are compared to EGLE Part 201 criteria for 7 PFAS compounds effective 12/21/2020: PFOS (16 ppt), PFOA (8 ppt), PFNA (6 ppt), PFHxS (51 ppt), PFHxA (400,000 ppt), PFBS (420 ppt), and HFPO-DA (370 ppt).
- EGLE also sampled the on-site condensate tank utilized by the landfill's methane gas extraction system. Results were consistent with concentrations found in groundwater.