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BASF - Northworks Wyandotte (Wyandotte, Wayne County)

EGLE Site Lead: Nathan Erber, ErberN@Michigan.gov or 517-242-8496. Content last updated on November 1, 2022.

Background

BASF Northworks Wyandotte (BASF NW) is a chemical manufacturing facility located at 1609 Biddle Avenue. PFAS compounds were detected from BASF NW discharges to the publicly owned treatment works (POTW) and to the Detroit River. 

In 2020, BASF NW and EGLE conducted a groundwater investigation and detected PFOS, PFOA, and perfluorohexane sulfonate (PFHxS), in the groundwater at the site in the vicinity of the three extraction well fields that are mandated by a State of Michigan Consent Decree since 1985/86, as well as a United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Order on Consent since 1994, that requires BASF NW to prevent discharge of contaminated groundwater to the Detroit River.

The facility is subject to Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), Corrective Action, and is an EPA Region 5 lead RCRA Corrective Action site. EGLE works closely with the EPA on cleanup and is the lead on PFAS issues. 

BASF NW borders the Detroit River in the Downriver Area below Ecorse Creek. An extraction well system, put in place by a Consent Decree, is currently functioning to keep contaminated groundwater from reaching the Detroit River. The EPA’s Consent Decree requires BASF NW to prevent contaminated groundwater from discharging to the Detroit River.

The extraction system has been running for over 35 years. Extracted groundwater is treated and discharged to the publicly owned treatment works (POTW).

The city of Wyandotte’s drinking water intake is immediately downstream of BASF NW. Detectable levels of PFOS, and PFHxS were present in a sample collected in August 2019. Ten subsequent sampling events through June 2020 did not identify PFAS at detectable levels in raw or finished drinking water.

BASF NW Wyandotte

Recent Accomplishments

  • Since June 2021, four perimeter groundwater sampling events have been conducted. PFAS was detected in 47 of the 64 samples.
  • On September 6, 2022, BASF NW submitted the 30% design for the comprehensive groundwater remedy to USEPA and EGLE. The long-term remedy is ultimately designed to be a barrier between contaminated groundwater on-site and the Detroit River.
  • On October 25, 2022, BASF NW submitted a work plan for targeted, immediate action on the site perimeter to address PFAS contamination in the short-term. Extraction well construction is scheduled to be complete before the end of the year.

Next Steps

  • EGLE Water Resources Division is currently working with BASF NW on an Administrative Consent Order to remedy the PFAS exceedances at Outfall 001. It is expected to be signed in late 2022.
  • EGLE and EPA are in the process of reviewing the 30% design for the comprehensive groundwater remedy and the work plan for addressing PFAS contamination in the short-term.

Residential Well Testing/Alternate Water Information

  • The area is supplied by municipal water by the city of Wyandotte. There are no known residential wells in the area. 
  • In August of 2019, city of Wyandotte's drinking water intake, which is located immediately downstream of BASF, was tested and had detectable levels of PFOS, and PFHxS. Ten subsequent sampling events conducted through June 2020 did not identify PFAS at detectable levels in raw or finished drinking water from the intake. Routine monitoring of the drinking water intake and/or finished water are ongoing.

Upcoming Community Engagement

  • None scheduled at this time.

Sampling Results Summary

This table reflects data received after August 3, 2020.  Data prior to August 3, 2020 is reflected in the timeline below. 
This table was updated to include all seven PFAS criteria effective December 21, 2020.

Type of Sample

Date Sampled
(or range)

Number of Sample Results Received

Number of Samples above Criteria

Groundwater Monitoring Wells

2021-2022

89

81

* Residential well and groundwater monitoring well results are compared to EGLE Part 201 criteria for 7 PFAS compounds: 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

  • Sample results in the table above do not include BASF sample results for non-contact cooling water or storm sewer sampling. In total 39 additional samples were collected with the highest PFOS of 1,360 ppt.

    Historical Timeline

      • On October 2018, EGLE requested BASF NW conduct PFAS monitoring from three outfalls to the Detroit River following detections of PFOS in discharge to POTW.
      • On December 6, 2018, BASF NW collected samples from outfalls 001, 002, 003 which discharge to the Detroit River. Results ranged from 6.6 to 56 ppt PFOS at Outfall 001A. The other two outfalls were below Water Quality Standards for PFOS and PFOA.
      • On June 24, 2019, under the National Permit Discharge Elimination System program, EGLE issued a violation notice (VN) to BASF NW requiring additional investigation sampling and source identification. 
      • On August 28, 2019, BASF NW responded to the VN with a PFAS Source Identification Study Plan for discharge from outfall 001. Source investigation suggests that historical AFFF use contaminated the groundwater which infiltrates into their NPDES discharge.
      • On May 7, 2020, BASF NW shared sampling results of Source Identification Study with EGLE and a recommended path forward. PFOS was primary PFAS compound detected from outfall 001 discharging to the Detroit River.
      • In the summer of 2020 BASF NW and EGLE conducted additional interior groundwater PFAS investigation and surface water sampling and confirmed the presence of PFOS, PFOA, and PFHxS in the groundwater from three extraction well fields. The highest results were 8,070 ppt PFOS, 73 ppt PFOA, and 762 PFHxS.

      Sampling: PFOS and PFOA Only

      Results prior to August 3, 2020.

      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

      June 18, 2020 5 3 2
      Surface Water December 2018 - 2020 10 4 0
      Cumulative 15 7 2

      *Groundwater results are compared to EGLE Part 201 Drinking Water Criteria of PFOS 16 ppt and PFOA 8 ppt.
      *Surface water samples are compared to Rule 57 non-drinking water values of 12 ppt for PFOS and 12,000 ppt for PFOA.