FRUITLAND TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — The Michigan PFAS Action Response Team has identified another polluted site to monitor in Muskegon County: Fruitland Township’s recycling center.
MPART did not suggest any PFAS contamination stems from the current use of the property. The site, southeast of the intersection of West Michillinda and Nesttrom roads, served as a landfill between 1950 and the 1970s.
“Because of the potential for PFAS-containing waste materials to have been disposed of at the site, Fruitland Township performed an initial environmental investigation of the property in May 2023,” MPART said in a statement.
The first samples taken from groundwater monitoring wells confirmed high levels of PFAS. The highest sample showed 567.8 parts per trillion of PFOS — perfluorooctane sulfonic acid. The current PFOS safety standard for drinking water in Michigan is 16 ppt of PFOS.
The samples also recorded 97.1 ppt of PFOA — perfluorooctanoic acid. The current PFOA safety standard for drinking water in Michigan is 8 ppt.
A geological study shows groundwater flows south-southwest away from the site. Duck Creek is approximately 0.7 miles south of the property.
Fruitland Township has agreed to a new round of testing, including residential wells at homes following the flow of the groundwater. That sampling was scheduled to start on Sept. 15.
Long-lasting PFAS chemical compounds have made headlines for years in West Michigan as more contamination sites are found, and scientists learn more about the health impacts of the chemical compounds. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances are a large group of compounds first developed in the 1940s and incorporated into all sorts of products for waterproofing and heat resistance.
Decades later, research showed that PFAS compounds take a long time to break down organically and can build up in the human body, causing serious health problems including cancer.