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PFAS contamination found in Lucy Road Landfill

Lucy Road Landfill

The Lucy Road Landfill in Howell has been identified as having PFAS levels above state standards.

According to online records with the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team (MPART), testing this past July at the Lucy Road Landfill on Lucy Road south of Grand River Avenue, staff with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) collected groundwater samples from 17 monitoring wells and one private well on Lucy Road.

Lucy Road Landfill
Lucy Road Landfill

The results determined nine of the 17 monitoring wells had PFAS above criteria. The highest results were 110 ppt PFOA (compared to 8 ppt), 60 ppt PFOS (compared to 16 ppt), and 80 ppt PFHxS (compared to 51 ppt). EGLE says it notified the City of Howell of the PFAS results.

The private well test turned up a result that was below criteria.

The landfill, which spans approximately 40-acres, was in operation from 1950’s to 1974 and accepted industrial wastes, including liquid wastes associated with a plastic film manufacturer. After the landfill closed, the City of Howell partnered with the plastics manufacturer to remove soil and waste drums while also installing monitoring wells at multiple depths to locate groundwater contamination. However, at the time, PFAS was not included in the groundwater monitoring. 

“A portion of the contaminated groundwater flows southwesterly and enters Marion-Genoa Drain headwater wetlands,” states the MPART website. “On the north side of the landfill, groundwater flows to the northeast because of constant pumping by the MDOT sump under a railroad underpass at Grand River Avenue to prevent flooding.  The MDOT sump acts as a purge well, capturing area groundwater, discharging to Thompson Lake.  PFOA and PFOS are above drinking water and water quality values in monitoring wells where groundwater moves towards the sump.”

EGLE says next steps will include sampling one business and one residential well if access is granted. They will also collect surface water samples for PFAS at the wetlands on the property when the wetland is not dry and then sample the MDOT sump outfall at the same time as wetland sampling. EGLE will also ask the City of Howell to conduct annual groundwater monitoring at the landfill.

Meanwhile, the website notes that residential wells are located south of the site on the east side of Lucy Road. 

“The adjacent property owner has granted permission to sample their drinking water well which is used for utility purposes; bottled water is available for employees,” states the website.  “Residents on the west side of Lucy Road are connected to municipal water from Marion Township. Genoa Township businesses and residents on the east side of Lucy Road currently do not have access to a municipal water supply.  EGLE, DHHS, and the local health department will continue to evaluate drinking water wells in the area.”

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