August 2019 CAG Meeting—Minutes

Wolverine CAG

Full CAG Meeting

Rockford Public Schools Freshman Center Cafeteria
4500 Kroes St, Rockford, MI  49341

Thursday, August 15, 2019
6:00 PM – 8:30 PM

Attendees:  AJ Birkbeck, Jenny Carney, Lance Climie, Kevin Green, Elaine Isely, Fletcher Johnson, Tom Konecsni, Gail Mancewicz, Susan Marschell, Grant Medic, Jonathan Miner, Wendy Ogilvie, Rick Rediske, Diane Russell, Tom Sapkowski, Doug Sarno, Kelly Sheeran, Mike Shibler Rick Solle, Cameron VanWyngarden, Jamie Vaughn, Sandy Wynn-Stelt

Guests:  Abby Hendershot, Betsy Nightingale

Estimated Number of Public Attendees:  35

Media: Garrett Ellison, MLive

WWW: Dave Latchana

Introductions and Agenda Review

  • Went roundtable to do intros for each

CAG Committee Reports
Leadership Team Mission Statement
Jonathan Miner, Rick Rediske, Sandy Wynn-Stelt

  • Rick:
    • Remarks regarding what the CAG is
    • Informed that we’re looking for 3 more members
    • Will meet monthly 3rd Thurs – next 3 are at Plainfield Township hall
    • Focus is looking at investigations at House, Tannery and House St
    • We’ll have orders of business and always allow for public comment and input
      • Asked public to share input on agenda topics they’d like to see
    • Encouraging public/community interaction with the CAG
    • Read the Mission Statement of the CAG
    • Current state – assessing the contamination
    • Future state – provide input on clean up and processes

Communication Committee
Jenny Carney, Kevin Green, Elaine Isely, Grant Medic, Mike Shibler

  • Grant:
    • Website, facebook and twitter domain names are all set up already
    • Our name is Wolverine CAG
    • Will engage with community on their preference on how best to receive information
    • Next week is the committee’s first meeting
    • Website is
      • Links to helpful information will be posted here

Membership Committee
Lance Climie, Fletcher Johnson, Tom Konescni, Gail Mancewicz, Jonathan Miner

  • Gail
    • Will have staggered 3 year terms
    • No term limits yet
    • Gail has a spreadsheet that will be shared
      • Fill in gaps for new members for who we need
      • If we need to, we can add members on an adhoc basis if needed
    • When people decide to resign, they will need to do a formal resignation
      • Then we know what gaps need to be filled

Rick Rediske

  • Sandy and Jenny have submitted their applications to be members to represent the Rockford/Belmont sites
    • AJ and Rick have provided input so far
    • MPART is tasked with setting a standard MCL for the State of Michigan
    • Public comment regarding the MCL’s will happen likely in Oct
      • 25% of MI residents rely on current standards, we need those lower and are providing input on what the science group is proposing
      • We also need all well water users to be included in this new standard

Overview of the Superfund Site timeline/activities/milestones
Abby Hendershot, EGLE

  • Shared the current known source contamination sites
  • Tannery
    • Shared map with location of all current monitoring wells
      • Keep in mind that it may look like wells are located very close together, but they are not far apart but go down different depths
      • New monitoring well located in the parking lot across from the WWW store and community cabin – all are heavily contaminated
      • Also installing monitoring wells from the Tannery heading towards the dam, will be installing a new monitoring well over by the gazebo
    • Area where there was the tannery waste water treatment plant and also barrel storage – showed high levels of PFAS in the soil
    • There is a location that will capture the higher concentration of water that was going to the river, will be captured and treated by wells that were installed
      • The program was just approved
      • Going to the NK Wastewater plant
        • Needs to be free of PFAS prior to sending to the plant
      • Groundwater capture system – high pumping wells – will suck water in from areas nearby
    • House St
      • Shared a map with 676 borings installed that were trying to find the outside boarding
        • 284 contained high levels
        • Need to continue with borings for depth – not done defining
        • Meek Dr will need additional investigation as well
        • Following SE – there are fingers heading towards the river
        • Appears to be traveling under the Rouge River
      • 874 soil samples – concentrated where the trenches are located
    • Wolven Jewell
      • Highlands neighborhood has not had monitoring wells installed yet because they are on municipal water (Rockford) – likely has PFAS but not wells so they’ll test later when they have time
      • Following the paleochannel
      • Believe this was liquid disposal
      • Very high spots are being found
      • 5 or more plumes coming from Wolven Jewell alone, the dumpsite was a high spot so the plumes are flowing off in many directions from it
    • North Kent Landfill
      • There are monitoring wells due to them accepting PFAS waste in the past
        • Not as high of levels as the others sites
    • The geology in this area is complex – there are channels of clay and gravel

Betsy Nightingale, US EPA

  • On scene coordinator for the state
  • Representing for Jeff Kimball (lead) – on vacation right now
  • EPA came in 2011 to investigate – City of Rockford asked them to leave, so they did
  • 2018 is when they needed to come back in
  • Federal govt does not regulate PFAS, they do on the other hazardous substances
  • Tasks
    • Soil, groundwater, surface water, soil gas
    • WWW was doing their own tests
    • EPA and DEQ did their own to verify
  • House St investigation   676 soil borings
    • Found visible waste = 254
    • VOC’s and Metals found above Action Levels
    • Dye’s and animal hair found during boring
    • Has a tool to detect conductivity – found the depression where the site was dug out and filled with waste
    • WWW to collect data and make recommendations for next steps
      • Put up a fence
      • Stop the further spread of metals
      • Stop the further spread of the SW corner of the property
        • In 2018 – never got to the outside edge, did come back to define
      • Stop the further spread of the waste in the environment (surface water)
    • TCLP – leachable chromium found in 5 locations
      • EPA made WWW stop the spread and will excavate
      • Did appear to stay within a trench area
    • Wetland investigation ongoing
  • Tannery
    • Soil, sediment sampling, groundwater, surface water, soil gas
    • Sampled Rum Creek
    • Found exceedances wherever they tested
    • With soil borings – found dye and leather scraps
    • WWW was to install signage
    • Remove leachable hazardous waste 
    • Remove shallow soils
    • Remove obvious scraps along the Rouge River
  • EPA program here now is like the emergency clean up steps to help the worst and most immediate needs.  Long term work will be contained with the Superfund Program
  • Comments:
    • Rick: chromium waste that is exceeding levels, confirmed that it is trivalent chromium, not hexavalent – not always found with the leather scrapes, it was in sludge
    • Need overview of what is happening and what is coming up so we can make the public aware so a new well does not surprise anyone
    • Provide overview of the plans of action for the sites for next steps
    • Need to fence off all areas which have contamination in the soil
      • House St site is going to be fenced, the contamination is further  out so it needs to be fenced further out than just the property lines
      • Tannery – end of summer will start having a fence installed
    • Soil and scraps need to be removed from the Tannery – will need to close the White Pine Trail – plan is for this fall to do the work
      • Shoring will be installed along the edges of the river
        • May involve a barge or two
      • There is an air monitoring plan in place – dust particulates and VOC’s
        • Will ensure the workers inside the space are okay, and also outside the site for the public
        • Not sure on the noticing for the neighbors
      • Work to rebuild river banks will be done if needed
      • Rick: would like the CAG to be provided full plan for the river work
      • Gail: Work plans ahead of time along with results after
    • Need to notify neighborhoods in advance for when work will be done – ex: increase of truck traffic
    • Make sure that homes nearby wells to be drilled are notified so they know whats happening
    • EPA workplan will only include hazardous items outside of PFAS
      • EGLE needs to come back and do the PFAS
    • Wolven/Jewell is getting different attention due to the lack of metal contamination. Only PFAS has been found. Lack of EPA work due to PFAS not able to regulated on a federal level
      • WWW has provided filters however they are not claiming full blame for Wolven/Jewell
    • Grant: need prior informing of what’s happening in the area.  EGLE and EPA will provide us the information and we can post on the CAG site.  GZA does flex due to the weather and property availability
      • Can post a ghant chart for projects if GZA could provide them
    • Soil sampling for the schools – Valley View and those downtown
    • When soil is removed – will clean fill be brought in till replace
      • House St may not receive fill, may be left as a fill
  • Notification app? Communications team to find alternatives
    • Will be committed to providing a simple, easy to understand way to communicate to the community
  • Will post info on our website and also govt & school site
  • MCL new standard being assessed – goes for municipal water, not wells
    • The drinking water standard will automatically apply to drinking water clean up

Update on River Signage and Kiosks
Diane Russell, US EPA

  • Kiosks have been installed
    • Handwashing guidelines, safe fishing/eating information, QR code
  • Visitors center have handouts also
  • Signs with handwashing stations
  • Comments:
    • Add CAG website to the materials, provide materials in other language ex: Spanish
    • Can we make the signage more visible – the design is not attention grabbing
    • Who is in charge of the wash stations so we can check and see if they are being used/maintained (likely the city handles this).

Public Comment

  • On Summit – why are monitoring wells scattered, is there a reason for why they go certain places
    • Delineate as results come back and go from there
  • Where was all the dumping?  Many calls came in from residents in  2017 when this all came up, the 3 sites were identified along with North Kent Landfill, they had dumping there in the past
  • Is there any research for drinking water because of all the areas using Lake MI for water, and Grand River.  DEQ did samples for all of municipal water for the state.  Tested the Grand River from Jackson to Lake MI (estimated).
  • Are there any members representing City of Rockford – no, the Chamber and City Manager quit.
  • 1 in 4 in the state of MI use well water – really need to have all well users get a water test – encourage labs to come online to help lower cost
    • Draft a list of recommended items to test for water samples
  • White Pine Trail – surface will be removed
  • WWW represented on CAG?  No, there was one gentleman in the audience who works at WWW
  • The legislation (SB1244?) no stricter than federal –
  • WWW providing Culligan – how long?   – WWW would need to answer
  • Testing times vary on WHF, depending on how high the PFAS is influent.  There has not yet been high levels of breakthrough
  • Is EGLE and EPA working with any of the planning commissions to study any open areas they have available? If so, what are they expecting to find?
  • Childsdale and Kuttshill – nearby homeowner is aware of dumping
    • Abby will look into this location and confirm whether its been looked at already
      • Will call him/her back

Adjourn 8:29pm