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Ben Powell Landfill (aka Clarkston Landfill) (Clarkston Township, Oakland County)

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

EGLE site lead

Emily Bertolini, or 517-614-6316.


In 2018, to investigate sources and locations of PFAS contamination in the State, the MPART Team, in coordination with EGLE, tested all sixteen (16) water supply wells within all of Independence Township.  When PFAS was first detected at low levels in one of the wells - called the Clarkston Gardens Well, the well was taken offline and no longer used as a source of drinking water. In 2020, an additional well - Chestnut Hills Well - area had low level detections of PFAS and was also taken offline. 

In the spring of 2023, the Township reached out to MPART to help coordinate sampling of shallow groundwater and residential wells near the Ben Powell/Clarkston Landfill (which was in operation from the 1940s to 1978).  Groundwater sampling was conducted at several locations near the landfill and the highest result was 21 ppt PFOA (compared to 16 ppt).  In February 2024, the originally posted Independence Township Area of Interest became an official MPART site because of exceedances in groundwater and the landfill being determined to be the source of PFAS contamination.

Groundwater is assumed to flow to the south/southwest towards Park Lake.

Content posted February 2024.

Site map

See an aerial view of the location of the area of interest.

VAP means Vertical Aquifer Profiling, which is a method of collecting shallow groundwater samples. Residential well sampling will be done starting at homes closest to the landfill. This sampling started in March / April 2023.

Expand the map

Drinking water

Municipal water is available in portions of the Township.  In 2023, the Township received $5.4 million in funding to extend watermains to homes in the affected area.  Construction is slated to begin in Fall 2024. The Township is in the planning phase for additional water main extensions for PFAS mitigation for FY25.

In April 2023, the Township hired an engineering consultant to sample private drinking water wells, starting with homes closest to the landfill. Residential well sampling was conducted in several phases and considered other potential sources of PFAS in the area.  Forty-four (44) residential wells were sampled, six (6) of which had detections below the drinking water criteria; the rest of which were non-detect. Independence Township met with EGLE, DHHS, and local health department staff after each phase of the investigation to discuss results and next steps.

Some residents will be connected to municipal water as part of infrastructure projects that were and currently being planned for.  These projects will include all of the homes that had detections of PFAS in their drinking water well.

Anticipated activities

A small subset of samples will be collected, in addition to the original 44 samples to be re-sampled in Spring 2024.

The Township will also be researching potential locations for new drinking water wells due to the Clarkston Gardens and Chestnut Hills being taken offline.