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Pike Lake Area of Interest (McMillan Township, Luce 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 area of interest.
Content posted February 2023.
EGLE Site Lead
Sydney Hewson, HewsonS@Michigan.gov or 906-235-4917.
The “Duck Lake Fire” occurred north of the Village of Newberry in Luce County, Michigan from May 23, 2012, to June 15, 2012. The fire was started by a lightning strike in the vicinity of Duck Lake near Falls Road and M-123 and burned northward through jack pine forest. The burn extent was estimated at approximately 22,000 acres and heavily affected the west and north sides of Pike Lake northward through the Little Two Hearted Watershed to the Lake Superior shoreline. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and several local fire departments were involved in fire response activities and damage assessments reportedly determined that 136 structures were lost to the fire.
The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) learned that fire-fighting foams were used for structure protection during the Duck Lake Fire response in 2012. Some of these fire-fighting foams may have contained PFAS. PFAS are a very large class of man-made organic chemicals that do not break down easily and can remain in soil, surface waters and groundwater for decades if released to the environment. Two of the PFAS compounds, PFOA and PFOS, are the most common compounds found to be an issue in the environment. Consumption of these chemicals above certain concentrations can be associated with health issues.
EGLE is conducting investigations in the Pike Lake area and coordinating with the DNR, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the LMAS District Health Department, area residents, and other stakeholders to assess if PFAS poses a risk to human health and the environment in the Pike Lake area.
- On September 28, 2020, following a report of foam on Pike Lake, EGLE collected fish to determine if Mercury or PFAS are in certain Pike Lake fish species.
- On March 4, 2022, EGLE sent residential well sampling letters to nine residents requesting access to sample their drinking water for PFAS.
- On March 29, 2022, EGLE began sampling drinking water wells starting with nine permanent/year-round residents.
- On April 11,2022, EGLE received the drinking water sample results. All nine homes were non-detect for PFAS.
- On August 10, 2022, EGLE sampled drinking water wells at two State of Michigan campgrounds: the Pike Lake campground and the Mouth of Two-Hearted River campground. EGLE also sampled the drinking water wells of two seasonal residents that had reported foaming of structures during the Duck Lake Fire response.
- On August 19, 2022, EGLE received the drinking water sample results. The State of Michigan campgrounds and both seasonal residences were non-detect for PFAS.
- Both PFOS and PFOA have been measured in lakes and streams across the state, and PFOS has been detected in most fish tissue samples from Michigan waters that have been analyzed for PFAS. In Summer 2022, EGLE sampled nearby lakes and streams within the Tahquamenon and Two-Hearted Rivers Watersheds, both of which may have been impacted by fire-fighting activities during the Duck Lake fire, as well as the Sleeper Lake fire in 2007.
Figure 1: Overview of 2022 surface water PFAS sampling sites
- EGLE's Water Resources Division collected 42 surface water samples from the Two-Hearted and Tahquamenon Watersheds in July of 2022, and none of the samples exceeded the Rule 57 Water Quality Values (WQV) for PFOS, PFOA, or PFBS. Additionally, there were no PFOS concentrations reported above the laboratory method detection limit, and all other PFAS, excluding PFBA were at or below typical Michigan Anthropogenic Background values. PFBA was detected at approximately 30 ppt at two locations but there is no Rule 57 WQV for this compound.
- Based on the drinking water well and surface water sample results, EGLE has determined that this area of interest is not a Facility as defined in Part 201, Environmental Remediation, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, P.A. 451, as amended. As a result, no future investigation is planned at this time. EGLE’s decision may, however, be withdrawn if new information becomes available that was not in EGLE’s possession at the time of this determination.
Residential Well/Alternate Water
- In March 2022, nine residential wells were samples, results were non-detect for PFAS.
- In July 2022, 42 surface water samples were collected, results were below applicable criteria.
- In August 2022, two residential wells were sampled, results were non-detect for PFAS.
- In August 2022, two State of Michigan campground drinking water wells were sampled, results were non-detect for PFAS.
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|
|Residential Wells||March 2022 - August 2022||13||0|
|Surface Water||July 2022||42||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).
Some fish species from Pike Lake were tested to determine if PFAS are in fish from the lake. They were also tested for mercury, which is commonly looked for in fish. While the final report is not complete, preliminary results have found PFOS in the fish fillets collected from Pike Lake.
|Species||Range of PFOS Detections (parts per billions or ppb)||Range of Mercury Detections (parts per million or ppm)|
|Rock Bass||22.1 - 141||0.22 - 0.44|
|Walleye||4.3 - 22.2||0.21 - 1.2|
|Yellow Perch||0.9||0.14 - .0.61|
Data indicate the fish from Pike Lake contain contaminants. Individuals who eat fish from Pike Lake will have increased exposure to these chemicals. As a reminder, statewide consumption guidelines are in place for all water bodies that do not have site-specific guidelines. For more information on Michigan’s Eat Safe Fish guidelines, visit Michigan.gov/EatSafeFish. If you have questions about Pike Lake fish testing results, please contact EGLE; for questions about fish consumption and your health, please contact Brandon Reid, MDHHS, at 517-897-3552 or ReidB1@Michigan.gov.
- None at this time.