The City of Portage, in collaboration with the Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services Department, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), will hold an informational meeting on Thursday, February 13 at 7 PM at Portage City Hall (7900 South Westnedge Avenue). The meeting will be held to provide information regarding PFAs and to update the community regarding PFAs testing in and around the former Portage landfill (9010 South Westnedge Avenue). An informational open house with the various agencies will be held immediately before the briefing, beginning at 6:30 PM.
According to EGLE, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAs) are a large group of man-made chemicals that have been used globally during the past century in manufacturing, firefighting and thousands of common household and other consumer products. These chemicals are persistent in the environment and in the human body – meaning they don’t break down and can accumulate over time. In recent years, experts have become increasingly concerned by the potential effects of high concentrations of PFAS on human health.
The City of Portage has conducted self-implemented testing in and around the former Portage landfill site since the closure of the landfill in the early 1990s. All testing has been performed by a highly-qualified environmental consulting firm retained by the City of Portage, American Hydrogeology Corporation (AHC). As part of this voluntary testing, PFAS contamination was discovered on the site in May 2019. Additional voluntary sampling in the fall of 2019 identified PFAs contamination migrating beyond the boundaries of the site at levels above the EPA’s Lifetime Health Advisory (LHA) of 70 parts per trillion. Out of an abundance of caution, testing was then performed on twenty-one nearby sites with private wells, most of which are upgradient from the landfill. Test results have confirmed that none of these 23 private wells contain PFAs nearing the LHA of 70 parts per trillion. The Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services Department has notified the residents at these sites of the test results from their individual private well. The test results can be viewed here and will be available at the February 13 informational meeting.