“KALAMAZOO, MI – Three households in Kalamazoo County’s Richland Township are being provided bottled water after high levels of the contaminant PFAS was discovered in their drinking water wells.
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality tests found levels of contamination several times above the 70 parts-per-trillion EPA health advisory level in drinking water wells near a historically contaminated site. The announcement was made Friday, July 13 by DEQ, which plans to hold a public meeting next week to answer questions.
The DEQ reported samples at the four homes contained 143 ppt, 696 ppt, 986 ppt and 1,116 ppt of PFOS and PFOA. The most contaminated well had PFAS levels at almost 16 times greater than the EPA health advisory.
The contamination is coming from a site formerly owned by long-closed electro-plating company Production Plated Plastics near the intersection of D Avenue and 34th Street. DEQ spokesperson Scott Dean said a fourth well was also found to contain PFAS levels greater than the health advisory, but the homeowners do not use it for drinking water.
During a Friday meeting of the Gull Lake School Board, trustees said the nearby high school does not draw water from wells in the area.
The public meeting will be held on July 18 at Living Hope Community Church, 9292 East CD Ave. An open house will start at 5:30 p.m., followed by a meeting from 6:30-8 p.m…
Contamination was being discharged from a Richland Township property now owned by the state of Michigan until June 21.
An April 13 sample at the site found 8,000 ppt of PFOS being discharged into the city of Kalamazoo’s wastewater system. The city was testing industrial sites to comply with a DEQ request to identify potential sources of PFAS.
A third-party study commissioned by the city found 20 industrial sites were dumping the contaminants into its wastewater system, but most came from the Production Plastics site.
Per the city’s request, the DEQ ceased discharge from the former Production Plated Plastics site on June 21, Dean said.
In 1992, Production Plated Plastics was ordered by a federal judge to pay $1.5 million in fines. The judge’s ruling stated the company purposely thwarted the effectiveness of hazardous waste laws by failing to clean up soil and groundwater contamination.
The electro-plating company was ordered to close its Richland Township facility. Established in 1969, the company produced plastic parts for the automotive industry until it closed in 1989.
When Production Plated Plastics went bankrupt, the state took possession of the site. The state has retained ownership due to environmental issues associated with the site.
The state operates a groundwater pumping system at the site meant to prevent groundwater contaminated with chromium VI, nickel and volatile compounds from migrating offsite. Pumps discharge directly into the sanitary sewer system that flows back to the city of Kalamazoo’s wastewater treatment plant.
Until recently, the groundwater discharge from the site had never been tested for PFAS, Dean said. PFAS had not been identified as a chemical of concern associated with the site.
The DEQ is now in the process of procuring and installing a groundwater treatment system at the Production Plated Plastics site. The treatment system is expected to be operational by the end of July, Dean said.”
Read the full article by Malachi Barrett