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Eastern St. Clair County AOI (Formally Fort Gratiot AOI) (Fort Gratiot Township, St. Clair County)

EGLE Site Lead: Anne Tavalire, TavalireA@Michigan.gov or 248-508-1102. Content last updated February 25, 2022.

Background

Michigan is investigating the presence of PFAS in drinking water supplies, groundwater, lakes, streams, and at sites of known environmental contamination.  State officials began investigating PFAS in Fort Gratiot Township near the closed Fort Gratiot Landfill in late 2018.  This investigation led to sampling in nearby streams and drains.  Elevated levels of PFAS were found in several drains and warrants further investigation.

There is no evidence of any impact on municipal drinking water. The township receives drinking water from the city of Port Huron water system.  This water has been tested multiple times and PFAS has not been detected. 

There is currently no data to suggest a risk to public health or negative impacts on recreational bodies of water used for fishing, swimming, and boating in the township.  However, water in drainage ditches contains runoff from farmland, roads, and parking lots and is generally of poor quality.  The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) recommends hand washing and rinsing pets with fresh water if they contact water from drainage ditches or storm water retention ponds.

Eastern St. Clair County AOI (former Ft Gratiot AOI) map

Recent Accomplishments

  • On May 6, 2021 EGLE collected additional surface water samples in Doe Creek, Rattle Run, Milwaukee Creek, Kettle Creek (proposed name), Pine River, and Burtch Creek drainages to further identify possible sources for elevated PFOS levels in some water bodies. EGLE has put together a summary report for this sampling event.  As more information is learned additional testing of fields, surface waters, etc., may be conducted to confirm and/or rule out sources. 
  • EGLE received the results of fish collected in 2020. 

PFAS Investigations at Related Industrial Sites of Interest

  • Initial source investigation efforts conducted by EGLE in the Ft. Gratiot Area of Concern resulted in additional investigations at two industrial sites located in Port Huron.
  • EGLE investigated paper sludge (solid waste generated by paper manufacturing) land application as a potential source of PFAS to surface waters.  Techni-Comp (Composting Specialists), Inc. located at 4152 Dove Road, Port Huron, Michigan, was identified as being the receptor of paper sludge from a paper manufacturing facility, Domtar - Port Huon Mill (Domtar) starting in 1998.  A site inspection was conducted on November 21, 2019, by EGLE.  EGLE issued a Violation Notice to Techni-Comp (Composting Specialists), Inc. on February 27, 2020, for violations associated with Solid Waste Management and Water Resources Protection Rules.
  • Due to the site investigation at Techni-Comp (Composting Specialists), Inc, EGLE issued a letter to Domtar on February 19, 2020, voiding the inert designation of the paper mill sludge. 
  • Domtar was directed to discontinue sending paper mill sludge to Techni-Comp (Composting Specialists), Inc.  Domtar is now disposing of paper mill sludge at Smith's Creek Landfill.
  • On November 3, 2021, Techni-Comp (Compositing Specialists), Inc. became a MPART Site. More information about the ongoing investigation can be found on the Techni-Comp page.

Next Steps

  • EGLE will continue to sample fish from selected waterbodies within the County and provide results to the MDHHS as available.
  • EGLE will continue to determine the source(s) of PFAS in the streams and drains.  It is expected that more sampling will be done in the coming months to understand the scope of the issue and identify sources.
  • EGLE will continue to work with the MDHHS and the St. Clair County Health Department to review new information as it becomes available and determine whether additional residential well sampling is necessary.

Upcoming Community Engagement

  • None scheduled at this time.

Sampling Results Summary

Sampling table reflects data comparted to Part 201 Criteria effective August 3, 2020.

This table reflects data received after August 3, 2020. Data prior to August 3, 2020 is reflected in the timeline below. 

Type of Sample

Date Sampled (or Range)

Number of Sample Results Received

Number of Samples above Criteria*

Groundwater Monitoring Wells N/A N/A N/A
Residential Wells September 2021 17 0
Surface Water 2020 - 2021 44 20
* 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

  • On August 3, 2020, new Part 201 Criteria went into effect.  Historical sampling data compared to the Part 201 Criteria >70 ppt is captured in the historical timeline below.
Fort Gratiot Landfill Groundwater Results Map

Fort Gratiot Landfill Groundwater Results Map

State officials began investing PFAS near the closed Fort Gratiot landfill due to work conducted by Port Huron WWTP as part of the IPP PFAS Initiative.
Fort Gratiot Landfill Surface Water Results Map

Fort Gratiot Landfill Surface Water Results Map

The results of the of groundwater sampling conducted by EGLE near the landfill led to surface water sampling in nearby streams and drains.

  • As of February 2022, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy has collected or plans to collect the following fish samples from the MPART Eastern St. Clair County Area of Interest. The fillets have been or will be analyzed for PFAS and other contaminants. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is evaluating the results for the "Eat Safe Fish" consumption advisories which are based on concentrations of mercury, PFOS, and other contaminants. Anglers should refer to the advice posted on the MPART Fish and Wildlife page and the Michigan Eat Safe Fish webpage.

    ND indicates that PFOS was not detected in the sample. 

     

    Water Body

    Location

    Latitude

    Longitude

    Species

    Collection Year

    PFOS Range (ppb)

    Ft. Gratiot Twp Pond

    McIntyre Park

    43.0514

    -82.4743

    Bluegill

    2019

    ND - 8.2

    Ft. Gratiot Twp Pond

    West of Parker Rd

    43.0428

    -82.4810

    Bluegill

    2020

    73 - 147

    Howe Drain

    Krafft Rd

    43.0254

    -82.4508

    Rock Bass

    2020

    63 - 133

    Black River

    10th St

    42.9809

    -82.4337

    Rock Bass

    2020

    25 - 256

    Black River

    Beard Rd

    43.0511

    -82.5960

    Rock Bass

    2020

    35 - 198

    Doe Creek

    Carrigan Rd

    43.0535

    -82.4822

    TBD

    2022

    Not yet collected

    Belle River

    E. China Twp Park

    42.7578

    -82.4900

    TBD

    2022

    Not yet collected

    Burtch Creek

    Jeddo Rd

    43.1550

    -82.5059

    TBD

    2022

    Not yet collected

    Pine River

    Rattle Run Rd

    42.8230

    -82.5179

    TBD

    2022

    Not yet collected

Historical Timeline

    • EGLE has conducted several rounds of sampling to evaluate the presence of PFAS in surface waters (streams and drains) in this area.  In 2018 and 2019, a total of 209 surface water samples have been collected.  The PFOS concentrations in these samples ranged from non-detect (<0.2 parts per trillion) to 11,000parts per trillion (ppt).  Overall, results suggest that some surface waters in the area have elevated levels of PFAS, specifically PFOS.  
    • In 2019, bluegill and sunfish were sampled from Fort Gratiot Pond at McIntyre Park as part of the statewide Eat Safe Fish Program.  This is a catch and release pond.  The fish samples were tested for various contaminants including PFOS.  The PFOS levels ranged from non-detect to 8 parts per billion (ppb) and averaged less than 3 ppb.  This is well below MDHHS Fish Consumption Screening Values for PFOS.  MDHHS will, however, be issuing a Fish Consumption Advisory for the pond in the future due to mercury levels measured in the fish being higher than the statewide mercury average.
    • Two drinking water wells near the Fort Gratiot Landfill (one residential well and one well at the St. Clair Drain Commission garage) were sampled for PFAS in November 2018 and April 2019.  The results for both wells were non-detect for all PFAS tested.
    • EGLE, working with St. Clair County Health Department staff, identified 2 additional residential wells for sampling in November 2019.  Both wells sampled were non-detect for all PFAS tested.
    • In December 2019, EGLE sampled a residential well located near a field investigation site.  The results were non-detect for all PFAS tested.
    • In December 2019, EGLE confirmed one source of PFAS to surface waters in this area.  The source was an agricultural field that received biosolids from a local municipal Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) in the 1980s.  Testing confirmed elevated PFAS levels, specifically PFOS, in soils and surface water where the biosolids were applied.  The levels of PFOS in surface water correspond to levels seen in prior surface water sampling events.  In addition, on December 19, 2019, EGLE collected surface water samples in the Howe-Brandymore Drain, Doe Creek, Galbraith Drain and Burtch Creek drainages to further identify possible sources for elevated PFOS levels in some water bodies. EGLE has put together a summary report for this sampling event which also includes the field investigation site.
    • On February 18, 2020, Bluegill and crappie were collected from a Fort Gratiot pond on Parker Road.  The fish will be analyzed for PFAS.
    • On August 20, 2020, EGLE collected additional surface water samples in the Doe Creek, Rattle Run, Sheldon Drain, Belle River, Milwaukee Creek, Galbraith Drain, Kettle Creek (proposed name) Brace Drain, Pine River and Burtch Creek drainages. These sample locations are near other agricultural fields that received biosolids applications prior to 1990. EGLE has put together a summary report for this sampling event.  
    • On October 14, 2020, EGLE collected rock bass from the Howe Drain and two locations on the Black River. The fish will be analyzed for PFAS. 

    Historical Sampling Table: PFOS and PFOA Only

    Type of Sample

    Date Sampled

    Number of Wells Sampled to Date

    Number of Well Results Received

    Number of Non-detects

    Number Between Non-detect and Standard*

    Number of >Standard
    Drinking Water (Residential Wells) Nov 2018 - Dec 2019 5 5 5 0 0
    Groundwater 2018 - 2019 49 49 17 16 16
    Surface Water 2018 - 2019 209 209 17 142 50
    Cumulative
    263 263 39 158 66

    * Groundwater results are compared to EGLE Part 201 Criteria of 70 ppt PFOS+PFOA.
    * Surface water samples are compared to Rule 57 non-drinking water values of 12 ppt for PFOS and 12,000 ppt for PFOA.
     * Residential well results are compared to the EPA LHA of 70 ppt PFOS+PFOA.

    • On May 6, 2021 EGLE collected additional surface water samples in Doe Creek, Rattle Run, Milwaukee Creek, Kettle Creek (proposed name), Pine River, and Burtch Creek drainages to further identify possible sources for elevated PFOS levels in some water bodies. EGLE has put together a summary report for this sampling event.  As more information is learned additional testing of fields, surface waters, etc., may be conducted to confirm and/or rule out sources. 
    • On September 29 and 30, 2021 EGLE and MDHHS sampled 17 residential wells. One well had a PFOS detection of 4.9 ppt but the well is no longer used for drinking water. The other 16 wells were non-detect for all PFAS tested.
    • EGLE received the results of fish collected in 2020.