MENOMINEE — The town of Menominee will begin monthly testing for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in January, but Mike Thorsen of Infrastructure Alternatives Inc. said he did not expect to find an excessive level of PFAS.
Infrastructure Alternatives, based in Rockford, Michigan, is the Manager of Water and Wastewater Utilities for the Town of Menominee and tests water and wastewater for PFAS, lead and copper, total trihalomethanes (TTHM) and COVID-19. A recent test for mercury showed it to be well below the limit, said Thorsen, project manager for Menominee.
The company does quarterly sampling at the Menominee wastewater treatment plant, but the Michigan Department of the Environment, Great Lakes and Energy wants monthly PFAS testing starting in January. “They are seeing variations in concentrations and want this to be monitored more closely,” Thorsen said at the Nov. 10 meeting of the water and wastewater services board.
Thorsen reported a PFAS level of 19 micrograms per kilogram (µg / kg). “Anything over 150, they don’t want the earth applied,” he told the EagleHerald after the meeting. “We take solids and apply them to farmland for nutrients. “
The sludge comes from the sewage treatment plant at 1301 5th Avenue, located behind the mall near the river. “Farms use it for their nutrients,” he said.
The additional testing is expected to cost an additional $ 1,000 per quarter. In October, the city extended its contract with Infrastructure Alternatives for two and a half years and agreed to increase the fees it pays the company by 10% for the first 18 months of the extension and by 2% for the extension. following year of the contract.
Instead of the current fee of $ 957,000 per year, the city will pay Infrastructure Alternatives $ 1.05 million through June 2023 and $ 1.07 million from July 2023 through June 2024, under the new agreement. The company said the increase is needed to cover the rising cost of labor, chemicals, utilities, increased regulations and responding to the pandemic.
Mac McClelland, a business consultant who spoke at a recent Brownfield Development Authority board meeting, said the old Kmart property in front of the sewage treatment plant was contaminated, but Thorsen said Wednesday that the soil or groundwater should be tested to determine if it is actually is contaminated.
“I think they were just testing it. I don’t know if they found it, ”Thorsen said.
Asked about the possibility of a leak from the sewage treatment center, Thorsen replied, “No. “
It is possible that there is no contamination at the site. To determine if a site meets Michigan criteria for a contaminated site, soil and groundwater samples would be analyzed, said Janet Michaluk, brownfield coordinator in the Department of Department’s Remediation and Redevelopment Division. Michigan Environment, Great Lakes and Energy.
McClelland said the site had to be contaminated for the property to qualify for special funds, but Michaluk disputed that.
“Site preparation is an eligible activity that is not limited to contaminated sites,” said Michaluk.
Site preparation may also be eligible for special funds in central communities if the property is dilapidated, functionally obsolete or historic. “Site preparation is actually considered a non-environmental activity,” she said.
Demolition, infrastructure improvement, and lead, asbestos and mold reduction are also considered eligible activities for a Contaminated Sites Tax Supplementary Funding Project.
Keith Killen, owner of M&M Plaza Enterprises, owner of the Kmart property, said the building was obsolete. It has yet to be tested for contamination, he said Thursday.
“In order to (demolish) the building, they will have to test the building,” he said. He did not dispute that some contamination may exist. “If you are looking for it, you can find it anywhere,” he said.
But the reason the Kmart site has been left empty for so long is that no buyer sees the value of the obsolete building, Killen said. “It’s about the obsolescence of the property. It can’t be developed with that building over there. It is obsolete. I say this as the owner of the building. Nobody wants this building.
The building has lost value because it hasn’t been updated, Killen said. “Ultimately, Kmart absorbed the value of this property over several years. They didn’t bring it value, didn’t take care of it, didn’t improve it, didn’t develop it, ”he said.
The Michigan Department of the Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy and the Michigan Strategic Fund must review Brownfield’s plan if the Brownfield Authority is to use the $ 18 million in school operating tax and $ 6 million in school operating tax. state education for the project, said Michaluk. If special funds are not included in the project, state agencies will not necessarily be involved in its review.