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Houghton County Memorial Airport (Calumet, Houghton County)

EGLE Site Lead: Amy Keranen, KeranenA@Michigan.gov or 906-337-0389. Webpage last updated September 16, 2021.

Background

Houghton County Memorial Airport is located at 23810 Airpark Boulevard.  On September 8, 2020, the Airport was awarded a grant to investigate potential PFAS contamination associated with Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF).  The first phase of the investigation conducted by LimnoTech, the consultant for the Airport, focused on two areas where AFFF was known to have been used by the airport for fire suppression equipment testing, and included collecting soil, groundwater, and surface water samples. 

Groundwater flow is expected to be towards the south, towards the Torch Lake watershed.  Gooseneck and Quincy Creeks, along with other various seasonal and/or intermittent ditches or drains convey surface water away from the Airport.

Houghton County Memorial Airport map

Recent Accomplishments

  • In June 2021, LimnoTech collected soil, surface water, and groundwater samples in areas where AFFF was used for testing at the Airport.
  • In August 2021, the Airport and LimnoTech shared the results of the Phase I investigation with EGLE. Four of the five groundwater samples collected exceed groundwater clean-up criteria for PFAS.  The highest result was 50,900 ppt for PFOS. All six storm water samples that were collected exceed the surface water quality standards for PFOS, with the highest result being 763 ppt. 
  • In August 2021, EGLE worked with the Western UP Health Department and MDHHS to evaluate area drinking water well logs and determined that wells in the downgradient direction are between 200 - 380+ feet deep.  The nearest downgradient well is over ¾ mile away. Based on the information known to date, no residential well sampling is planned at this time.

Next Steps

  • EGLE is in the process of working with the Airport and consultant on the scope of the next phase of the investigation which will include additional sampling.  Resampling of 3 groundwater monitoring wells will be conducted as a result of possible cross-contamination during the first round.

Residential Well/Alternate Water

  • There are no residential wells that have been identified by the state or local health department for sampling.  The Airport is supplied by municipal water.

Upcoming Community Engagement

  • None scheduled at this time.

Sampling Results Summary

Type of Sample

Date Sampled
(or range)

Number of Sample
Results Received

Number of Samples
above Criteria*

Groundwater Monitoring
Wells
June 2021 5 4
Surface Water June 2021 6 6

*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).
*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

  • In June 2021, LimnoTech collected eight soil samples; currently there are no PFAS standards in place for soil.