PFAs Testing at Former Landfill

Former Landfill

A landfill was operated at 9010 South Westnedge Avenue from the early 1950s through 1977. In 1978, the site began operating as a transfer station and recycling center.  Materials were brought to the site, sorted and trucked to other area facilities. In 1989, the City of Portage began a major groundwater cleanup effort, including groundwater recovery pumping. Efforts also began to connect downgradient residential properties from the landfill to Crockett Avenue to municipal water. In 1999, cleanup efforts were complete and the city began a comprehensive groundwater sampling and monitoring program, which continues today.  All testing has been performed by a highly-qualified environmental consulting firm retained by the City of Portage, American Hydrogeology Corporation (AHC).

With the emergence of PFAS across Michigan, the city began self-initiated and precautionary testing at the former landfill for PFAs in the spring of 2019.  The city learned that there were concentrations of PFAS in the southwest corner of the site that exceeded drinking water health advisories.  The city expanded the scope of testing, following accepted scientific protocols, to determine if the PFAS contamination was migrating off of the site.  In November 2019, the testing confirmed that PFAS were migrating north off the site at levels exceeding drinking water health advisories.  As a result, as required by Part 201 of the Michigan Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, the City of Portage provided notice to 103 affected downgradient property owners between November 25 and December 17, 2019.  All of these 103 properties are served by municipal water.

PFAs Open House and Informational Meeting - February 13, 2020

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), held an informational meeting on Thursday, February 13 at 7 PM at Portage City Hall (7900 South Westnedge Avenue).  The meeting included testing results and an informational presentation by all the partner agencies. 

Meeting Agenda (PDF)

Meeting Video

Municipal Water

Most homes and businesses that are near the contamination site are serviced by municipal water provided by the City of Portage and those residents should be assured that their drinking water meets or exceeds standards set forth by the Michigan Safe Drinking Water Act. EGLE performs quarterly testing of the municipal drinking water system in Portage and has found no detections of PFAs exceeding the current US EPA Lifetime Health Advisory or the more stringent drinking water standards being considered by the State of Michigan. Residents who are on city municipal water (meaning they receive a monthly water bill from the City of Portage) are not affected by this potential PFAs site.  The results of the quarterly testing by EGLE are available on the Michigan PFAs Action Response Team (MPART) web site:

Testing of Private Wells

At the present time, there are no test results showing PFAs exceeding recommended health levels in private drinking water wells near the investigation testing site.  The residents within the potentially affected area who rely on private wells for their potable water needs have been contacted by the City of Portage, EGLE and Kalamazoo County Health & Community Services Department.  PFAs sampling of twenty-two residential water wells near the site of contamination has been accomplished and the results show that all of these wells are within the recommended health levels. 

What are PFAs?

PFAS substances are part of a group of chemicals used globally during the past century in manufacturing, firefighting and thousands of common household and other consumer products. Boiling water will not remove PFAs.  Common residential filters do not treat PFAs. Swallowing PFAs is the primary way it can get into your body.  Touching the water is not considered a health concern as PFAs does not move easily through the skin. You can bathe, do your dishes, launder your clothes and clean with water that has PFAs in it.  It is advised that farm animals and pets do not drink the water.