PFAS chemicals at K.I. Sawyer Wastewater Treatment Plant

July 13, 2020

The Marquette County Board approved a study to find how to dispose of 1.2 million gallons of PFAS contaminated biosolids


The Marquette County Board took steps to address the issue of PFAS chemicals at the K.I. Sawyer Wastewater Treatment Plant. 

There are currently two storage tanks holding a total of 1.2 million gallons of biosolids contaminated with PFAS, according to the Upper Michigan Source News. The proposed study will cost $31,700.

The board approved a plan to work with GEI Consultants to complete a study of how to properly dispose of the biosolids. The commissioners also questioned K.I. Sawyer Director of Operations, Duane DuRay, who was handling the request for proposals (RFP).

"So now we're sitting with this storage of 1.2 million gallons, that's a big concern, now the two things that you have here, one is to do a study as to how we handle things, is that going to give us an answer as to how we're going to dispose of this 1.2 million gallons?" asked Commissioner Bill Nordeen.

According to DuRay, “that is correct."

The request for proposal (RFP) was a design from GEI for a biosolids handling facility,  which will be approximately $192,200. The County Board only approved the study at this time, however.

In 2018, PFAS at K.I. Sawyer appeared to come from the Air Force’s use of fire fighting foam at crash sites, fuel storage areas and training areas. 

According to KI Sawyer Water/Wastewater Department press release dated Mar. 2018, analysis from drinking water wells did not detect PFOA and PFOS. 

“The K.I. Sawyer Water Department is working with the Air Force and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality on this issue and will continue to monitor the drinking water,” said the 2018 release.

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Cristina Tuser

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