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North Houghton County Water and Sewer Authority Wastewater Treatment Plant (Calumet, Houghton County)
Web content may not routinely be updated on this page. Please contact the Site Lead for the most up-to-date status of the site.
Content posted June 2023.
Note: Public and private municipal wastewater treatment plants do not produce or use PFAS and provide a public service to the community. These plants receive residential, commercial, and sometimes industrial wastewater that may contain PFAS. Conventional wastewater treatment plants are not designed to treat for PFAS, therefore PFAS may pass through the treatment system to surface waters (i.e., lakes, rivers, etc.) and groundwater. EGLE is actively working with these wastewater treatment plants to address PFAS.
For more information, please see the Wastewater Workgroup page.
EGLE Site Lead
Sydney Ruhala, RuhalaS@Michigan.gov or 517-599-5356.
The North Houghton County Water and Sewer Authority Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP), located at 23749 Highway M-203, discharges treated wastewater to the groundwater under a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Individual Permit issued to the North Houghton County Water and Sewer Authority. The final treated effluent is discharged to the groundwater onsite via rapid infiltration basins (i.e., sand beds). During heavy precipitation, the WWTP is permitted to discharge the final treated effluent to the St. Louis Creek, Douglas Creek, and Begunn Creek. The WWTP also has an approved Industrial Pretreatment Program (IPP), which requires industrial dischargers that send their wastewater to the WWTP, to use treatment techniques and management practices to reduce or eliminate the discharge of harmful pollutants to the sanitary sewers.
EGLE sampled surface water in Begunn Creek, downgradient of the WWTP, for PFAS in July 2021. PFOS was detected above criteria. As a result, the North Houghton County Water and Sewer Authority sampled three groundwater monitoring wells for PFAS at the WWTP on November 2, 2022, per EGLE’s request. PFOA was detected in all three monitoring wells above criteria. The highest result was 19 ppt PFOA (compared to 8 ppt).
The North Houghton County Water and Sewer Authority will be resampling the three monitoring wells at the WWTP in spring 2023 to confirm the initial sampling results.
Estimated shallow groundwater flow direction at the WWTP is to the west towards Begunn Creek.
Drinking Water Information
EGLE, DHHS, and local health will be conducting an initial phase of residential well sampling in Summer 2023. Selected residents will receive access agreements in the mail. Residential well sampling will be expanded in a phased approach if determined to be necessary.
EGLE will continue to work with the North Houghton County Water and Sewer Authority to determine the extent of PFAS contamination in groundwater and identify, and reduce where possible, potential sources of PFAS to the WWTP.