Grand Rapids, Mich. — The Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GFIA) today announced results of its drinking water/well testing of 28 private residences as showing non-detect levels for the presence of PFOA and PFOS, the polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) compounds for which the State of Michigan has established criteria.Property owners have been informed of the non-detect results, and the Airport has also shared results with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), the Kent County Health Department (KCHD), and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).
The non-detect levels are established by State of Michigan cleanup criteria for groundwater, as protection for drinking water. The State of Michigan’s criteria for groundwater applies to two particular compounds, PFOA and PFOS, and is set at 70 parts per trillion (ppt) combined (https://www.michigan.gov/pfasresponse).
Of the 44 property owners contacted for drinking water/well testing, 28 participated, with all 28 of the wells tested showing non-detect levels for PFOA, PFOS, and 10 other compounds. (see attached results table). One property showed low detectable presences for two PFAS compounds, PFHxA (5.45 ppt) and PFBS (6.43 ppt); but these compounds are not part of the State of Michigan cleanup criteria for groundwater, and MDHHS officials (in concurrence with MDEQ and KCHD) have confirmed that these low-level results do not pose any health concerns.
Based on these findings, the Airport will now focus on continuing its multi-step evaluation process, including completion of its property site analysis and related report to the MDEQ.
“We applaud the Airport’s efforts in going above and beyond the requirements to conduct off-site residential testing, and based on the data and related results, we concur there is no need to continue additional residential testing at this time,” explained Adam London, RS, MPA, Administrative Health Officer, KCHD.
The non-detect private drinking water/well testing results follow GFIA’s June 15, 2018 news that the Airport groundwater results for the presence of PFAS on airport property fall below the State of Michigan PFAS health advisory level and cleanup criteria.
Although the Airport’s groundwater results were below health advisory levels, the Airport went beyond regulatory requirements by conducting off-site groundwater testing of private drinking water wells in the area that is located northeast of the Airport’s property – the direction of groundwater flow indicated by GFIA’s investigation.
“We pride ourselves on being good neighbors and doing what is in the community’s best interest,” said Jim Gill, A.A.E., IAP, Gerald R. Ford International Airport President & CEO. “We appreciate all of the cooperation and support of the dozens of private property owners we have worked with in this additional testing phase. We also appreciate the continued partnership with the MDEQ, MDHHS, and KCHD in keeping residents informed and working with us in our testing process.”
“Learning about PFAS and its impacts has become an evolving national conversation, taking place at airports, military bases and other facilities across the country,” said Gill. “Our commitment to environmental stewardship and our community has always been part of the Airport’s foundation and that commitment continues to guide our work moving forward.”
The Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GFIA) is the second busiest airport in Michigan. The Airport served over 3.26 million passengers in 2018 and over 8,000 travelers pass through GFIA each day. The Gerald R. Ford International Airport offers nonstop service to 32 major market destinations with more than 140 daily nonstop flights. The Gerald R. Ford International Airport is managed and operated by the Gerald R. Ford International Airport Authority. GFIA generates over $3.1 billion in annual economic output throughout West Michigan, and employs over 2,000 people.