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Former S.D. Warren (SAPPI) (Muskegon, Muskegon County)

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

EGLE site lead

Jason Poll, or 616-446-1263.


The former S.D. Warren site (also known as SAPPI) is located at 2400 Lakeshore Drive, on the south shore of Muskegon Lake.  The property (or parts of the property) was developed in the 1800s for various industrial uses including the manufacture of tanning chemicals, a sawmill, a tannery, a piano factory, and was occupied by a papermill from about 1900 to 2009. Much of the 120-acre property consists of fill material which extend the property from its natural shoreline to its current configuration about 1,300 feet into Muskegon Lake. Manufacturing at the site stopped in 2009 and structures on the property have since been demolished. In 2016, the State of Michigan entered an Administrative Order by Consent (AOC) with the parties liable for the contamination. The AOC specified response activities that the liable parties were required to complete but these activities did not include PFAS as chemicals of concern since they had not been sampled for at the site at the time.  In addition to PFAS, discussed below, the property is contaminated with other chemicals of concern including various metals, elevated pH, dioxin, ammonia, hydrogen sulfide gas, and methane gas – these last few are likely from various buried wastes and organic materials at the property from historic waste disposal and filling.


Developers purchased the site in 2016 intending to redevelop the now vacant property. During investigation work conducted to support redevelopment of the site, PFAS was discovered in the groundwater. The property owner voluntarily performed groundwater remediation activities at the site by operating a groundwater pump-and-treat remediation system in 2019 and 2020 before its use was discontinued due to operational challenges. The remediation system temporarily reduced PFAS concentrations in some areas of the site, however, significant PFAS contamination remains. Further PFAS sampling was conducted in April-June 2022 consisting of groundwater and soil sampling at the facility; maximum concentrations measured in the groundwater at that time were PFOA 1,800 ppt (compared to 8 ppt) (TW-01 duplicate), PFOS 780 ppt (compared to 16 ppt) (MW-08s). In September 2023, additional sampling was conducted of the water and sediments contained in the former “surge basin” – a body of water located on the property adjacent to Muskegon Lake that was formerly used as part of the paper mill’s wastewater and storm water system – this sampling confirmed the presence of PFAS in the water and sediments within the basin.


More work is needed to investigate the nature and extent of all contamination at the site and develop a reliable, long term remediation strategy that will both protect Muskegon Lake and clean-up the groundwater. Muskegon County has obtained a special appropriation from the Michigan Legislature to help with this investigation and cleanup. The owner of the property also has ongoing due care responsibilities to protect occupants and visitors to the site.


Muskegon Lake is located on three sides of the site property. Groundwater flow has been determined to be towards Muskegon Lake.

Content posted January 2024.

PFOS map

See an aerial view of the PFOS of the site.

Expand the map

PFOA map

See an aerial view of the PFOA of the site.

Expand the map

Drinking water

The area is serviced by the City of Muskegon water supply.

Anticipated activities

Additional work is needed to investigate the nature and extent of all contamination at the site and develop a reliable, long term remediation strategy that will both protect Muskegon Lake and clean-up the groundwater. As of January 2024, EGLE has not been provided or approved work plans which should include:

  • Delineation of PFAS (and other chemicals of concern) at the site.
  • Completing a feasibility analysis of various technologies to contain (prevent from migrating) and remediate PFAS present in the soil, sediment, groundwater, and surface water at the site.  
  • Ongoing environmental due care obligations to prevent exposure to all contamination at the site. 

Historical timeline

    • Between October 2018 and July 2020, Pure Muskegon sampled groundwater at the site for PFAS.
    • On October 20, 2021, EGLE received all the historical PFAS groundwater sampling results from Pure Muskegon.  The highest results were PFOS of 6,954 ppt, PFOA of 1,192 ppt, and PFNA of 17 ppt.
    • On November 8, 2021, EGLE confirmed with the City of Muskegon and the local health department that homes and businesses nearby are connected to city drinking water.

      Sampling Results Summary

      Type of Sample

      Date Sampled (or Range)

      Number of Sample Results Received

      Number of Samples above Criteria*

      Groundwater Monitoring Wells

      October 2018 - July 2020


      *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).

      Sampling Notes

      • Samples were collected by current or prospective property owners. Data for initial PFAS sampling was received by EGLE on October 20, 2021.