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Lacks Industries - Cascade (Grand Rapids, Kent County)

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Please contact the Site Lead for the most up-to-date status of this site.

EGLE site lead

Nicole Sanabria, or 517-281-7726.


The Lacks Industries – Cascade site is located at 1601 Galbraith Ave S.E., in Grand Rapids. The site is a former metal plating manufacturer of zinc die-cast parts. Plating operations were conducted from 1963 until 1984. This site applied copper, nickel, and chromium plating to the parts. In the summer of 1984, the plating equipment was removed from the plant. The site was used to produce plastic parts from 1980 to 1987, and to assemble plastic parts from 1987 to 1997.

During the time it was an active plating operation, three seepage lagoons on the property received metal-bearing process wastewater. Following the closure of the plating line, the lagoons received non-contact cooling water and wash water from the paint area. Two consent judgements were issued to Lack’s Industries in the U.S. District Court in 1989; one to address cleanup and closure of the surface impoundments, and the other to determine the rate and extent of contamination in the groundwater.

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) proactively tested this plating facility for PFAS due to the historical groundwater contamination. Nearby lakes include Walden Lake and Wood Lake. The stream that drains them discharges to the Thornapple River.

Content posted October 2023.

Preview of the Lacks Industries Cascade PFAS site interactive map
Preview of the Lacks Industries Cascade PFAS site interactive map

Lacks Industries Cascade PFAS Investigation interactive map

View general information about the PFAS investigation being conducted at the Lacks Industries site. This map is a collection of various data sets related to the PFAS investigation and were collected under Lacks Industries direction at the Lacks Industries facility.

Drinking water

In 2018 and 2019, 22 residential wells were tested (one self-test, the rest by Lacks Industries, with EGLE or Kent County Health Department present). All results were below the applicable criteria at the time, the USEPA Lifetime Health Advisory (LHA) of 70 ppt.

In 2022, EGLE re-evaluated residential well sampling data as part of an Operation and Maintenance Inspection at the facility, and compared the results to the PFAS criteria that was updated December 21, 2020. Exceedances of drinking water at the investigation area boundary prompted EGLE coordination with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Kent County Health Department to conduct additional residential well sampling further southwest of the initial investigation area. These sampling efforts have been ongoing in 2023. Results have been received for four residential wells, with all results below criteria. EGLE will continue to evaluate the need for further residential well sampling as the investigation proceeds.

Anticipated activities

EGLE will review the groundwater monitoring results from the June 2023 sampling event and determine if the investigation area needs to be expanded.

Historical timeline

    • In August 2018, EGLE (Water Resources Division) sampled the remediation (purge) well discharge prior to it discharging to Walden Lake, and PFOS was detected at 240 ppt.
    • In August/September 2018, EGLE and Lacks collected samples from a groundwater extraction well and four groundwater monitoring wells near Walden Lake. These wells were chosen because they were located downgradient of the closed seepage lagoons and along the general groundwater flow path where chromium contamination had been detected in the past.
    • At the end of September 2018, the groundwater results were received. Results indicated there was groundwater contamination over 70 ppt PFOA+PFOS.
    • In October 2018, Lacks Industries sampled Walden Lake and three monitoring wells on the outer edges of the previously determined area of investigation, located near Burton Street SE and Cascade Road SE.
    • On October 30, 2018, Lacks Industries and EGLE hosted a community meeting in Cascade Township with the public to discuss the investigation.
    • In October 2018, EGLE resampled a resident who had a self-reported detection of 50 ppt PFOS; the sample result came back as non-detect.
    • In November/December 2018, Lacks and EGLE have also been sampling groundwater monitoring wells within the existing monitoring well network. Several of the monitoring wells have multiple sampling points within the thickness of the aquifer, providing some insight into the vertical distribution of PFAS in the aquifer.
    • As of December 10, 2018, Lacks, EGLE, and the Kent County Health Department have sampled 21 drinking water wells and have received preliminary results for 20 of those samples.
    • On December 10, 2018, EGLE sent the first GovDelivery email update on site investigation to residents.
    • In December 2018, Lacks completed Phase I of residential well sampling; 21 residents were sampled in total. Total PFAS in samples have ranged from 2 – 54 ppt.
    • On January 9 and 10, 2019, Lacks sampled some of the monitor wells, and then provided those results on February 1st.  All results are posted on the interactive map, which will be updated as future data is received. 
    • On January 16, 2019, Lacks Industries hosted a meeting for the residents being hooked up to city water to discuss details.
    • On January 17, 2019, EGLE hosted an open office hours session at the Cascade Township Wisner Center.
    • On February 13, 2019, EGLE hosted an open office hours session at the Cascade Township Wisner Center.
    • On April 1, 2019, Lacks Industries sampled four groundwater wells.
    • On April 3, 2019, Lacks sampled MW-44 and collected a surface water sample near PZ-55.
    • On April 4, 2019, Lacks sampled the remaining intervals in multi-screened wells MSW-02 and MSW-04 with several more scheduled the remainder of last week.
    • On April 8, 2019, the multi-screened well MSW-06-4 was located.
    • On April 26 and May 6, EGLE received the results for 19 groundwater samples from the April 3rd and 4th sampling events.
    • On May 29, 2019, Lacks sampled the multi-screened well MSW-06-4.
    • On May 29, 2019, Lacks sampled a set of wells south of Schoolhouse Creek, west of Cascade Road.
    • On June 17, 2019, EGLE met with Lacks to discuss current monitoring and the possibility of additional sampling.
    • On June 26, 2019, Lacks resampled two residential wells, each at the kitchen sink and outside spigot on the east segment of Burton that had prior detections; Results were received on August 2, 2019. PFAS was detected at lower than the initial sampling and were consistent at each well for the sink and spigot.
    • During the week of July 8, 2019, Lacks sampled the multi-screened well MSW-5; results were received July 26th.
    • Analytical results for bluegill and yellow perch collected from Walden Lake were received in July 2019. PFOS concentrations were elevated in both species, causing consumption advisories of 6 meals year for bluegill and 1 meal per month for yellow perch. This is significantly more restrictive for both species than advice due to mercury.
    • Lacks located and sampled multi-screen well (MSW) 3, and provided the results to EGLE on October 1, 2019.  All ten sampling depths at that location were non-detect for the 24 PFAS compounds.  Results are plotted on the live map.
    • Lacks located and sampled monitor well (MW) 52s&d and provided the results to EGLE on October 7, 2019.  Both wells had detections of PFOS above the regulatory standard.  Results are plotted on the live map.
    • On October 23, 2019, EGLE received the routine sampling results from Lacks on four MWs which were sampled as part of their routine monitoring program that included PFAS parameters.
    • Historical Sampling Chart: Data is reflective of criteria prior to August 3, 2020,  PFOS and PFOA Only

      This chart reflects data received prior to August 3, 2020.

      Type of Sample

      Date Sampled (or Range)

      Number of Samples

      Number of Results Received

      Number of Non-Detects  Number Between Non-detect and Standard*  Number Greater Than Standard 

      Drinking Water (Residential Wells)

      Through June 26, 2019 24 24 14 10 0
      Groundwater August 2018 - October 2019 125 125 79 20 26
       Cumulative   149 149 93 30 26

      *Residential well results are compared to the USEPA LHA of 70 ppt PFOS+PFOA.
      *Groundwater results are compared to EGLE Part 201 Criteria of 70 ppt PFOS+PFOA.
      *Sampling chart includes locations that may have been sampled more than once.

        Sampling Notes

        • Results are shown in the interactive map in terms of “PFOS + PFOA”, as well as “Total PFAS”.  Total PFAS includes additional PFAS chemicals not included in the U.S. EPA’s LHA level of 70 ppt.
        • The quality control process is still being completed for some of these results, and they will not be final until that process is finished. EGLE’s goal in providing these preliminary results is to provide transparency, allowing residents to make the best, well-informed choices based on all available data.
        • Initial sampling was focused on locations where chromium had been detected in the past.
        • Surface water samples have been taken in Walden Lake.
    • In September 2020, Lacks collected some PFAS samples from additional wells in their monitoring network results are posted to the live map.  The highest PFOS from this event was 750 ppt in MW-52s and 16 ppt PFOA in MW-52d.
    • In June 2022, EGLE conducted an Operation and Maintenance Inspection at Lacks, and sampled 3 groundwater monitoring wells for PFAS.
    • In June 2023, Lacks collected additional groundwater samples from wells in their monitoring network. EGLE has not received the results yet.