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Pike Lake Area of Interest (McMillan Township, Luce County)

EGLE Site Lead: Jolene Traut, TrautJ@Michigan.gov or 906-250-2076. Content last updated June 21, 2022.

Background

The “Duck Lake Fire” occurred north of the Village of Newberry in Luce County, Michigan from May 23, 2021, to June 15, 2021.  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. 

Map of Pike Lake Area of Interest McMillian Township PFAS Site

Recent Accomplishments

  • 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.

Next Steps

  • In June 2022, EGLE plans to sample two additional residential wells and drinking water wells at two State of Michigan campgrounds in the area.
  • 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.EGLE plans to sample nearby lakes and streams in 2022 which will include 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.

 

Map of Pike Lake PFAS Sampling Sites

Residential Well/Alternate Water

  • In March 2022, nine residential wells were samples, 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 9 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).

Fish Sampling

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.   

Sampling Notes

  • None at this time.