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Saranac Landfill (Saranac, Ionia County)

EGLE Site Lead: Kent Walters, Waltersk7@Michigan.gov or 616-278-4350. Webpage last updated  January 10, 2022.

Background

Saranac Landfill was, in effect, an open dump prior to the 1960s; it was later leased by the village of Saranac. Records indicate that through the 1970s, the landfill accepted industrial wastes, chemicals, paint solvents, and plating wastes.  In the early 1980s, a hydrogeological study at the landfill detected groundwater contamination, which resulted in the state issuing a cease-and-desist order. In late 1984, the landfill ceased accepting waste and was shut down. Because of poor landfill management, alleged disposal of wastes that likely contain PFAS, previous groundwater contamination, and nearby downgradient residential receptors, the site was sampled for PFAS.

Historical records indicate approximate groundwater flow is to the north, toward the Grand River. Flow appears to be controlled by the topography in the region. Multiple private drinking water wells exist approximately 1,500 feet north and northwest of the landfill. No significant surface water bodies exist downgradient of the landfill, except for a small pond adjacent to the Grand River. 

Map of Saranac Landfill PFAS Results

Recent Accomplishments

  • On October 22, 2021, EGLE sampled a seasonal Type II drinking water well at a nearby campground for PFAS.
  • On October 28, 2021, EGLE sampled 10 drinking water wells for PFAS. EGLE also received results from the one previously sampled drinking water well, and all PFAS were non-detect.
  • On November 4, 2021, EGLE received sampling results from 10 private drinking water wells.  Nine wells were non-detect for PFAS.  One well had detections of PFOA and PFOS in exceedance of drinking water criteria.  The highest detection of PFOA was 74 ppt and the highest detection of PFOS was 41 ppt. 
  • On November 16-17, 2021, EGLE sampled three groundwater monitoring wells, three surface water bodies and one seep on the landfill property for PFAS and other common contaminants associated with landfills.
  • On December 3, 2021, EGLE sampled the final private drinking water well downgradient of the landfill.
  • On December 7, 2021, EGLE received results from the November 16-17 sampling event. One of three groundwater samples exceeded PFOS criteria, and two of the four surface water samples exceeded surface water quality values for PFOS. The highest detection of PFOS in groundwater was 28 ppt at monitor well MW-03A, and the highest detections of PFOS in surface water was 88 ppt, which was collected from the landfill seep. 
  • On December 10, 2021, EGLE received the results from the December 3 sample, which was collected from a private drinking water well. The result was non-detect for PFAS.

Next Steps

  • EGLE will work with MDHHS to determine if resampling of one impacted residential home is needed.

Residential Well/Alternate Water

  • Eleven private drinking water wells and one seasonal Type II campground drinking water well exist north and northwest of the landfill, approximately 1,500-2,000 feet hydraulically downgradient of the landfill. All twelve wells were sampled for PFAS. Eleven of 12 samples were non-detect for all analyzed PFAS, and one private well had PFOA and PFOS above drinking water standards. A filter was offered to the impacted homeowner and was refused. Municipal water from the village of Saranac exists approximately two miles east of the landfill. 

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
November 16, 2021 3 1
Residential Wells October 22 - December 3, 2021 11 1
Surface Water November 16,2021 4 2

*Residential well and groundwater monitoring well results are compared to EGLE Part 201, Cleanup Criteria Requirements, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, 1994 PA 451, as amended (NREPA), 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 323.1057, Toxic Substances (Rule 57), of the Part 4 Water Quality Standards, of the NREPA, non-drinking water values of 12 ppt for PFOS and 12,000 ppt for PFOA. 

Sampling Notes

  • Table is reflective of 11 residential drinking water wells sampled; however, a seasonal Type II water supply was also tested for PFAS.