Skip to main content

Menominee Warehouse Fire Area of Interest (Menominee, Menominee County)

EGLE Site Lead: Ashley Miller, MillerA65@Michigan.gov or 906-235-7435. Content last updated November 18, 2022.

Background

Resolute Forest Products is located at 701 North Fourth Avenue in Menominee next to the Menominee River and produces paper pulp.  On October 6, 2022, a large-scale industrial fire started at the plant and impacted adjoining warehouses owned by KK Integrated Logistics and occupied by ChemDesign and Tyco/Johnson Controls.  The adjoining warehouse contained numerous containers of Class B firefighting foam known to contain PFAS, as well as other containers of materials.  Firefighting teams and incident management agencies responded, including Wisconsin, Michigan, and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  Water was initially used to fight the fire, but as the fire continued, a Class A foam was used to aid in firefighting operations. The fire was completely extinguished by October 20, 2022.

Early on, some firefighting water left the site and entered the river, which was a concern because the river flows into Green Bay, which is where the drinking water intakes are for the cities of Menominee, Michigan and Marinette, Wisconsin. Earth berms were installed quickly on-site and large holding tanks were mobilized to contain most of the fire water during continued firefighting operations.  In total, over 5.5 million gallons of firewater was captured on-site within a combination of holding tanks, a large constructed bermed pond, and constructed holding tanks.  All water contained in the pond was later pumped into holding tanks and the pond was deconstructed. In early November, a treatment system was installed to treat the water in the holding tanks before it is discharged into the river or pumped to the Menominee Wastewater Treatment Plant for additional treatment.

Sampling for PFAS started immediately at the Menominee Wastewater Treatment Plant, the Menominee Water Treatment Plant (which serves drinking water to nearby residents), the Marinette water supply, and the Menominee River.  Surface water sampling along the river near the site, the “raw” lake water (the water going into the water treatment plant) and “treated water” (water that comes out of the water treatment plant used for drinking water) will continue to be sampled at a frequency determined by EGLE and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) in coordination with drinking water sampling in Wisconsin.

Some fire debris, including paper waste and pulp, was transported to two solid waste landfills, one in Michigan, one in Wisconsin.  As of November 11, 2022, over 36,000 tons of fire debris material had been transported off the site.  Firefighting foam that was compromised and spilled within a portion of the warehouse was vacuumed into holding tank containers and will be transported to a waste facility in Oregon for disposal.  Waste is being characterized before transport and disposal.

Additional information can be found on the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Menominee warehouse fire response website and the US Environmental Protection Agency site.

The primary receptor is the Menominee River.  Nearby residents are served by municipal water.

Menominee Warehouse - prior to fire

An aerial photograph of the Menominee Warehouse before the fire.

Menominee Warehouse - during fire

An aerial photograph of the Menominee Warehouse during the fire, on October 15, 2022.

Captured by EGLE drone.

Recent Accomplishments

  • On October 20, 2022, a press conference related to environmental sampling and monitoring was held by the US EPA, EGLE and other stakeholders. The US EPA and the incident command team has since demobilized, however, there will be continued coordination and oversight of site activities through regularly scheduled meetings.
  • On October 20, 2022, a central team of EGLE and MDHHS staff continued regular communications about sampling, treating the fire water on-site, and cleanup.
  • In early November, a treatment system was installed to treat the contained firefighting water before it is discharged into the river or pumped to the Menominee Wastewater Treatment Plant for additional treatment.

Next Steps

  • EGLE and MDHHS will continue meeting as needed to evaluate data and determine next steps, in coordination with Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources staff.
  • Conversations will continue regarding the frequency of sampling.

Residential Well / Alternative Water Information

  • Nearby residents are served by municipal water. The public water supply was and will continue to be sampled.

Upcoming Community Engagement

  • None scheduled at this time.

Sampling Notes

  • In Michigan, drinking water samples are compared to Michigan drinking water standards, which are in place for 7 PFAS compounds. No samples collected in Michigan exceeded Michigan drinking water criteria.
  • One PFAS compound called 6:2 FTS--for which there is no Michigan drinking water standard--was below a health-based value developed by MDHHS. Health officials determined the municipal drinking water safe to consume and use in Michigan.
  • As of November 7, none of the 200+ river or lake samples exceeded Michigan’s surface water quality values.
  • EPA staff conducted air monitoring at the fire site and within the affected communities during the firefighting and debris management operations.

Photos of the site

A 1.5 million gallon holding tank

A 1.5-million-gallon tank holding dirty water prior to treatment.

A large tank with a pipe going into it, the tank is holding treated water

Tank holding treated water, which is being tested to meeting water quality values prior to discharge.