Nov 20, 2019

PFAS Sets Muskegon, Mich., Convention Center Construction Back

The discovery of per- and polyfluoroalklyl substances (PFAS) at the Muskegon, Mich., downtown convention center has set back construction for approximately a month.

PFAS Sets Muskegon Convention Center Construction Back

The discovery of per- and polyfluoroalklyl substances (PFAS) in groundwater has set back construction of the Muskegon, Mich., downtown convention center for approximately a month.

The city broke ground in late summer on the $20 million convention center. The contamination was later discovered during routine groundwater testing, according to the Muskegon Chronicle. Testing determined it was contaminated with 13 ppt of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS).

The state of Michigan has set an advisory guideline of 8 ppt for PFOS in drinking water. 

After the discovery, city staff sought out potential funding sources for the cleanup. The city was able to get a $499,999 Michigan Brownfield Redevelopment grant to cover the anticipated costs.

Approximately 750,000 gal of groundwater will be treated each day for 29 to 45 days. The testing was part of a dewatering process, which is necessary to place footings and because of the high water table in the area. 

This is not the first instance in which Muskegon has discovered PFAS contamination.

In 2018 and early 2019, several Muskegon homes were discovered to have PFAS contamination, according to the Muskegon Chronicle.

Muskegon County officials were soliciting bids for contractors to install drinking water pipes from the property line into the homes when this was discovered. Water testing for toxic PFAS chemicals is also being expanded near the Muskegon County Airport following the discovery of another contaminated drinking water well, according to the Muskegon Chronicle.

“We’re ready to respond, and we’d like to respond quickly,” said Michael Eslick, operations manager for Muskegon County Public Health. “We try to have a sampling done once a week or every other week.”

It is unclear where the PFOS contamination at the convention center site originated from.

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