Skip to main content

Eagle Ottawa Newaygo Farms (Walkerville, Oceana and Newaygo County)

EGLE Site Lead: Aaron Assmann, AssmannA@Michigan.gov or 616-430-5275. Content Last Updated: October 7, 2022.

Background

Eagle Ottawa Leather Company (EOLC) operated a tannery in Grand Haven, MI from approximately 1916 to 2007. In approximately 1994, EOLC began managing residuals from their wastewater treatment plant by dewatering, composting and then land applying. This practice concluded in ~2007. Residuals were transported from Grand Haven to two locations in parts of Oceana and Newaygo counties owned and operated by Eagle Ottawa Newaygo Farms until ~2007. In mid-2021, the "Hilltop" and "Longview" locations were sold, and the new owner submitted a Baseline Environmental Assessment (BEA) to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) in December 2021. The locations are used for various crop productions and concentrated animal feed operations (CAFO). The BEA contained information showing PFAS contamination in shallow groundwater above EGLE clean-up criteria across both locations. Many residential drinking water wells are present adjacent to both locations and EGLE will be requesting access to sample the wells.

Groundwater flow is unknown but is suspected to be toward Beaver Creek. Residential drinking water wells are present in all directions.

Eagle Ottawa-Newaygo Farms map

Recent Accomplishments

  • On June 16, 2022, Lear responded to EGLE’s March 1 compliance communication agreeing to conduct response activities.
  • In July 2022, EGLE reviewed surface water results for two samples collected in May from Beaver Creek at Dickinson and Comstock Avenue. Respectively, PFOS was detected at 92 ppt and 77 ppt.
  • On July 19, 2022, MPART hosted a town hall meeting in Walkerville, which was attended by 65 members of the public.
  • On August 17, 2022, MPART met with the current owner/operator of the Hilltop and Longview locations to discuss MDARD’s June 28 request for information to learn more about operations at the farm.
  • On September 8, 2022, the current owner/operator of the Hilltop and Longview locations responded to MDARD’s June request for information letter.

Next Steps

  • EGLE will continue compliance communications with Lear.

Residential Well/Alternate Water

  • Between March 16 and May 12, 2022, EGLE collected 16 residential drinking water samples and local health and DHHS have communicated results. PFAS was detected in one residential with a result of 63 ppt PFOA and 27 ppt PFOS.
  • District 10 Health Department provided a point of use filter to the resident where PFAS contamination was detected in drinking water.

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*

Groundwater Monitoring Wells

June 2021 8 8
Residential Wells March - May 2022 16 1
Surface Water May 2022 2 2

*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).
 *Surface water samples are compared to Rule 57 non-drinking water values of 12 ppt for PFOS and 12,000 ppt for PFOA.

Sampling Notes

  • None at this time.

Historical Timeline

    • On December 27, 2021, EGLE received a BEA showing eight shallow groundwater (≤ 20’ below ground surface) monitoring wells exceeded criteria. The highest results were 1,800 ppt PFOA, 680 ppt PFOS and 20 ppt PFNA.
    • In January 2022, EGLE worked with Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the District 10 local health department to determine residential well locations in the area and developed a “public health action plan” for responding to drinking water well results when they are received.
    • In January 2022, MDARD began working with the new owner / operator of the CAFO to learn more about the farm operations and steps taken to eliminate or mitigate potential PFAS exposure to the farm animals.
    • On March 1, 2022, EGLE delivered a compliance communication to Lear Mexican Seating Corporation (Lear), which is the successor company to Eagle Ottawa Leather Company.
    • On March 11, 2022, EGLE, MPART and DHHS hosted a local official presentation.
    • In May 2022, EGLE collected two surface water samples from Beaver Creek. Sample locations were collected from where Beaver Creek crosses Comstock and Dickinson Avenues. Results are pending.