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Marathon Petroleum Company (Detroit, Wayne County)

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

EGLE site lead

Eric A. Larson, or 586-255-6196.


During the summer of 2018, large amounts of white foam were observed overflowing from a manhole next to Schaefer Highway in Melvindale. This manhole is part of a combined sanitary and storm sewer system that leads to the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) Wastewater Treatment Plant. The drainage system services a large, highly industrialized area. Through sampling and investigation, Marathon Petroleum Company, located at 1300 Fort Street in Detroit, was identified as a contributor to this drainage system and a source of PFAS contamination.

Sampling by EGLE staff identified PFOS and PFOA in the drainage ditch adjacent to Marathon above water quality standards. Based on these results, GLWA and EGLE required Marathon to investigate and control the PFAS discharge to the GLWA system and to submit a workplan to further delineate the nature and extent of PFAS contamination on site.

The highest groundwater result reported at this site was 765,000 ppt PFOS. Marathon has identified the use of Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) in both the fire training area and areas of historic emergency response as sources of PFAS. Marathon first used PFAS containing AFFF in the 1980s and during annual training until 2018.

All nearby residents are on municipal water sourced from the Detroit River. View results for municipal water supply sampling results. Investigation of other sources of PFAS contamination in the area can be found on the MPART website under Investigations, Area of Interest, Wayne County, Melvindale Foaming Sewer Area.

Content posted October 2022.

Site map

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Drinking water

All residents are on municipal water.

Anticipated activities

MSD will continue quarterly groundwater sampling and complete additional delineation of PFAS in groundwater. MSD will develop a design of ion exchange resin ex-situ remedial system for PFAS which is planned to treat contaminated groundwater. Pilot testing will be conducted through 2023 and anticipated to be in full operation in 2024.

Historical timeline

    • On December 20, 2018, GLWA issued a Violation Notice to Marathon Petroleum, requiring Marathon to provide data to characterize PFAS in the storm water and provide plans for eliminating future discharges.
    • In 2019, Marathon collected storm water and groundwater samples as described above.
    • On September 30, 2019, EGLE sent Marathon a Compliance Communication letter requesting the site be investigated for PFAS due to elevated concentrations of PFOS in the drainage ditch traversing the northern property boundary.
    • On November 7, 2019, EGLE, Marathon and Arcadis's held a meeting to discuss the Compliance Communication letter and paths forward for Marathon to address PFAS contamination.
    • On November 21, 2019, Marathon submitted the PFAS Investigation and Response Activity Work Plan - Fire Training Area, Marathon Petroleum Company Detroit Refinery, Detroit, Michigan.
    • In January 2020, Marathon's contractor began conducting the first phase of the soil and groundwater investigation on-site and off-site. Details of the first phase investigation will be reported in the feasibility study Marathon will submit at the end of the year.
    • In September 2020, EGLE was notified that Marathon hired a second contractor to conduct a Sensitive Environmental Receptor Study.
    • On September 22, 2020, EGLE had a virtual meeting with Marathon and was informed that: all aspects of the refinery will be investigated for PFAS; a second contractor was added to assist with the investigation and conduct a Sensitive Environmental Receptors Study; and Marathon's goal is to contain PFAS on-site and eliminate it within the Marathon Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP).
    • On October 8, 2020, EGLE held a virtual town hall with the environmental justice community in the Dearborn, Detroit, and Melvindale area. This event will include information about Marathon, Rouge Main Complex, and fish, surface water, point source, drinking water and other related monitoring events that have occurred in this area.
    • Marathon completed site investigations, a feasibility study, and environmental sensitivity study. On December 31, 2020 Marathon submitted their PFAS Investigation Summary Report to EGLE. This report is a culmination of Marathon's investigation activities and their proposed response activities to remediate PFAS.
    • On January 7, 2021, EGLE and Marathon held a virtual meeting to discuss and review Marathon's PFAS strategy.
    • On January 22, 2021, EGLE and Marathon held a virtual meeting to discuss and review Marathon’s PFAS Report.
    • In February 2021, Marathon conducted a pilot study using PlumeStop.
    • In February 2021, Plume stop was installed at a pilot test location in the Fire Training Area.  Marathon conducted sampling at the end of April at this location. 
    • Marathon has been tracking precipitation events for potential surface water sampling opportunities. Marathon collected samples during five (5) rain events.  Water was only observed flowing once (and subsequently sampled) from Drainage Ditch A.  Drainage Ditches B & C have not been observed to collect any water.  During all the rain events, the Melvindale Storm Drain proper was observed flowing as it passes through Marathon’s property and was subsequently sampled.  Marathon’s observation was there is little to no stormwater flowing from the FTA to the Melvindale Storm Drain except during periods of heavy rain events or major snow melt. Limited ponding of water is observed in this unpaved area.
    • Marathon implemented permanent fixes to Catch Basin #2 to prevent potential foaming along Schaefer Road.
    • Marathon consultant designed pilot test to address safety issues with flooding into Melvindale Storm Drain (MSD) which includes a stormwater bypass for significant precipitation.  The pilot test in the 2nd-3rd quarters of 2021 was not deemed to be successful and redesign was proposed.
    • In September 2021, Marathon’s contractor performed surface water and sediment sampling along MSD.  This included 13 surface water samples from locations along the open drain adjacent to Fire Training Area (FTA).  Samples were collected to evaluate PFAS concentration trends which were used for full scale and interim remedies. AquaGate+ RemBind booms were used to treat overland flow to both MSD and prior to the Visger Sewer.  Results determined the need to increase the RemBind thickness to increase contact time for remedial efforts utilizing two independent media beds.  Installation was completed in November 2021.
    • On May 10, 2022, MSD cleaned the culvert and lined the Catch Basin #2 to prevent PFAS from entering the GLWA storm drain.  
    • On October 14, 2022, EGLE received 2021 and 2022 groundwater sampling reports from MSD and updated the sample results table below. 

    Sampling Results Summary

    Type of Sample

    Date Sampled (or Range)

    Numberof Sample Results Received

    Number of Samples Above Criteria*

    Groundwater Monitoring Wells

    February 201 - July 2022 101 90
    Surface Water October 13 and November 12, 2021 28 28

    *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).
    *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.