The McDonald Country Store, located about five miles north of the Wurtsmith Air Force Base (WAFB), was the site of a fire. The local fire department responded to the fire but was unable to extinguish it with water. The fire was still not responding to typical fire fighting techniques, so the fire department contacted WAFB. To combat the fire, they decided to make use of PFAS. However, it took large quantities of PFAS foam to put out the fire.
Later, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) detected PFAS around the base in groundwater, surface water, and soil. Consequently, they asked DLZ to perform an investigation on the site to assess contamination.
DLZ prepared a work plan to collect soil samples (groundwater was not sampled because of a more than twenty-foot thick clay layer only five feet below the ground surface) and to collect surface water samples from a downstream marsh that discharged into a river. The soil contamination on the site of the McDonald Country Store had concentrations greater than anything seen in Michigan at that time — up to concentrations in the part per million range (several orders of magnitude above established safe soil contamination levels).
Surface water also had significant levels of contamination, which was discharging into the Pine River.
DLZ provided a work plan to perform additional site sampling and proposed a plan to remove the contaminated soil for disposal at an approved landfill. This work is on hold until the State resolves budget issues.