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Muskegon Chemical Company (Whitehall, Muskegon County)

EGLE Site Lead: Nicolas Dawson, DawsonN1@Michigan.gov. Webpage last updated August 3, 2020.

Background

Muskegon Chemical Company (MCC) plant produced specialty chemicals at the Whitehall facility from approximately 1975 to 1993. The site is comprised of three property areas and multiple parcels containing impacted soils and groundwater. The three areas include the former Plant Property, the Howmet Property, and the Mill Pond Creek Property. 

The former Plant Property consists of 19.6 acres and is located at 1725 Warner Street (the designated address for the site), on the southern outskirts of the city of Whitehall in Muskegon County.  This property contains impacted soil and groundwater and is located approximately 0.5 mile north of Mill Pond Creek and close to White Lake and Lake Michigan.  It is adjacent to and north of the Hart-Montague Bicycle Trail (former CSX railroad). The property is zoned MC-1 – Limited Industrial Commercial. This property is the location of the former MCC plant (now vacant) and is owned by Flint Hills Resources (FHR).

The Howmet Property contains impacted groundwater, and is in the city of Whitehall, located west of the former plant property, north of White Lake Drive and west of Warner Street. This property is owned and occupied by the Howmet Corporation.

The Mill Pond Creek Property contains impacted groundwater and is an 88-acre undeveloped parcel in Fruitland Township, south of White Lake Drive and southwest of the former Plant Property. The northern one-half of the Mill Pond Creek Property is zoned MDR – Medium Density Residential, and the southern one-half is zoned RR – Rural Residential. The Mill Pond Creek Property is owned by FHR. 

Groundwater contamination was initially discovered in 1977.  The probable source of contamination was identified as a leak in the drainage system inside the MCC manufacturing facility. These leaks contaminated the local water table (upper) aquifer near the plant. Later investigations tracked the groundwater contaminant plume approximately one-half mile south- southwest to its discharge point in Mill Pond Creek. A group of potentially responsible parties has implemented remedial actions at the Site, which included groundwater extraction and treatment, thermally enhanced soil vacuum extraction and air sparging, institutional controls, and monitoring of soil and groundwater. The Site achieved construction completion with signing of the Preliminary Closeout Report in 1997.

An initial sampling effort for PFAS by FHR took place in October 2018.  The sampling was focused on the former MCC Plant property.  FHR sampled six monitoring wells, and all had concentrations of PFAS that were below groundwater/surface water interface criteria, but two wells were above the cleanup criteria that went into effect August 3, 2020.

Groundwater flows in a southwesterly direction away from the site towards Mill Pond Creek.  There are residences a half mile to the south of the site with residential wells that were historically tested for chemicals of concern (COCs) found in on-site monitoring wells.  No COCs were detected in the residential wells.

Muskegon Chemical Company Map

Recent Accomplishments

  • In October 2018 the Muskegon Chemical site was sampled for PFAS.  The PRPs selected six of the 27 site monitoring wells for the sampling event.  Of the six wells sampled two of the wells were above the new drinking water MCL for PFOA of 8 ppt.  The highest result was 18 ppt PFOA.

Next Steps

  • EGLE is in discussions with EPA and FHR on future steps in regards to PFAS sampling at the site.

Residential Well Testing/Alternate Water Information

  • EGLE has contacted local health officials and DHHS to discuss residential wells located within a half mile south of the site and the historic sampling of those wells for COCs from the site.  EGLE communicated that the sampling showed no site COCs in any of the wells sampled.

Upcoming Community Engagement

  • None scheduled at this time.

Sampling Results Summary: PFOS and PFOA Only

Type of Sample

Date Sampled (or Range)

Number of Sample Results Received

Number of Samples Above PFOS Criteria

 Number of Samples Above PFOA Criteria

Groundwater

October 5, 2018 6 0 2
 Cumulative   6 0 2

*Groundwater results are compared to EGLE Part 201 Criteria of PFOS 16 ppt and PFOA 8 ppt.

Sampling Notes

  • None at this time.

Historical Timeline

  • No historical information at this time.