ALLEGAN COUNTY, Mich. — The final phase of Menasha Paper Mill PFAS soil sampling efforts is scheduled to start June 10.
As part of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) continuing investigation in the Otsego Area Study, EGLE’s project team has been working very hard to complete an evaluation of soils in areas where waste materials from the former Menasha Paper Mill have been historically applied or disposed.
The team spent several weeks collecting upward of 6,000 sample points from many area farm fields where paper sludge was applied as a crop amendment and from several private properties where sludge and fly ash were disposed.
The last phase of soil sampling, the collection of samples from roadside areas where Menasha’s black liquor was historically used as a roadbinder, will occur beginning the week of June 10.
A technique called Incremental Sampling was used to sample the soils. This technique requires many more individual samples to be collected than in traditional sampling. However, it provides much more accurate data on contaminant levels.
With Incremental Sampling, additional processing of the soil samples occurs at the laboratory before the analysis can be run. This adds time to the laboratory testing process. VISTA laboratories in California are being used due to high confidence in their data quality. They handle PFAS samples from all over the country, including most of the samples coming from Michigan — both soil and groundwater.
Results are expected back by the end of July.
Once the results are in, EGLE will work with our partner agencies – the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Allegan County Health Department, and the federal Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry – to evaluate the results and determine if any public health risks are present.
The partner agencies will then schedule a public meeting to present the results to the community.