Hillsboro Ave PFAS Area of Interest


Visit the Hillsboro AOI MPART site for the most up-to-date information.  

Brent Ritchie is the EGLE Lead for this area of interest (AOI) and can be contacted at ritchieb1@michigan.gov or by calling 616.581.1782.  Point of use water filters are available at the Kent County Health Department.

What started this investigation?
A homeowner on Hillsboro Ave SE tested their drinking water well independently and results showed PFAS levels exceeded criteria for PFOA (9.1 ppt compared to 8 ppt).  They reported these results to the health department and EGLE began sampling drinking water wells nearby in February 2023.

How has EGLE decided which drinking water wells to test?
There are a few factors effecting which wells are targetted, including:
  • Proximity to previous sampling results (starting from the first house tested)
  • Review of water well logs
  • Elevation, well depth, and soil lithology
What have tests shown so far?
As of 9/21/23, 105 wells have been sampled.  22 of the test results were exceedances, 45 detected PFAS in amounts less than the maximum acceptable standards, and 38 were non-detect.  The maximum concentrations found were PFOA at 27 ppt (compared to Michigan's acceptable standard of 8 ppt) and PFOS at 34 ppt (compared to Michigan's acceptable standard of 16 ppt).

"Deep" wells have all tested non-detect when screened less than approximately 640 ft elevation.  Wells with the presence of substantial (greater than approximately 20 ft thick) clay and/or silt units have also all tested non-detect.  

Who/what is responsible for this PFAS?
While PFAS has been found in the water, EGLE has not been able to determine the source.  It is currently easier to explain why some often mentioned sources aren't likely to be the cause.
  • Lacks PFAS Site: The Lacks site that is quite close to the Hillsboro AOI isn't likely to be the source because they are at a lower elevation than the wells testing positive for PFOS.  The houses that have tested positive are largely at the top of a ridge.  EGLE is actively tracking the Lacks plume using test wells and it does appear to be headed towards the Hillsboro AOI.  Finallly, the PFOS and PFOA in the Hillsboro AOI do not appear to have the same makeup as the PFOS and PFOA found at the Lacks site, which has particulates consistent with the chrome plating they previously manufactured.
  • Gerald R. Ford Airport (Burger/Goodwood PFAS Site): This source is not likely the cause due to the distance between the sites, differences in topography, and testing in the Burger/Goodwood neighborhood established a generally well accepted perimeter around the pollution. 
What's next?
On 9/21/23, Cascade Township hosted a townhall meeting in coordination with EGLE, Kent County Health Department, and MDHHS.  View the meeting's PowerPoint to find test results, general PFAS information, and next steps.

EGLE will continue their investigation into the impacted area and attempt to quantify the extent of the pollution.  They are also looking for the PFAS's source but that may be impossible to pinpoint.

Long term solution employed at other sites include providing municipal water, replacing wells, and source removal/remediation.  It may be years before enough research has been done for remediation can begin but EGLE, the Kent County Health Department, MDHHS, and Cascade Township are working together to investigate this relatively new site.

In the meantime, Cascade Township has a PFAS Citizens Committee that meets on the first Thursday of every other month at 4:00 p.m. at the Cascade Township Office (5920 Tahoe Dr. SE) and is subject to the Open Meetings Act.  The committee is currently made up of citizens from (and focused on) the Burger/Goodwood remediation project, but the Township is looking to expand to include the Hillsboro AOI.  Agendas and meeting minutes for this committee are available on the Agendas/Packets section of our website.