Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy Former Lacks Cascade Twp. Update


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Dear Resident:

Thank you for attending the Cascade Township community meeting at the Cascade Township Library on October 30, 2018 about the groundwater contamination near the former Lacks Enterprises, Inc. (Lacks) facility at 1601 Galbraith Ave SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546. You are receiving this email because you shared your email address to receive updates.

The state of Michigan is committed to protecting public health, so we are looking closely at emerging potential contamination threats as we learn of them across the state. We want to help you stay updated on the testing of groundwater associated with the former Lacks facility and any follow-up actions that may be needed because of this testing.

As discussed at the October 30 meeting, testing of the groundwater near Walden Lake found some contamination with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). PFAS are a family of man-made chemicals that includes perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).

Because PFAS was found in groundwater monitoring wells, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) and Lacks are testing drinking water wells near the former Lacks facility to determine if the contamination could be a risk to drinking water in that area. Based on the direction groundwater moves in the area, wells to the southeast of the former Lacks facility (in the “Phase 1 Response and Investigation Area”) are being tested.

Most of the residents in the investigation area are on municipal water and are not affected by this potential contamination.  If you are on municipal water, you do not need to do anything differently and you do not need to test your water for PFAS.  This investigation focuses on people with their own drinking water wells that may be in the path of groundwater contamination from the former Lacks facility.

If your home’s water is tested as part of this effort, you will be contacted by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services or Kent County Health Department by phone or in person with your results, when they are available.

So far, we have preliminary results from 19 drinking water wells that have been tested. All drinking water results were below EPA’s Lifetime Health Advisory (LTHA) level of 70 parts per trillion (ppt) for combined PFOA and PFOS.

PFAS was detected at 10 of these drinking water wells, with total PFAS ranging from 2 to 54 ppt. The quality control process is still being completed for some of these results, and will not be final until that time.

If residential water samples are found to be contaminated with PFAS above the LTHA, action will be taken to ensure that safe water is available for use. As a precaution, Lacks has offered to hook up homes in the Phase 1 Response and Investigation Area to the Grand Rapids public water supply. Depending on each individual situation, filters may be recommended until public water hook ups can be completed. Lacks has also offered to provide these filters, as appropriate.

MDEQ and Lacks are also testing monitoring wells to determine the full extent of contamination. If results of these tests show that PFAS has spread beyond the Phase 1 response area, MDEQ will expand the borders of the response area as appropriate. 

Information and updates on PFAS testing and investigation related to the former Lacks facility in Cascade Township, including the handouts and presentations from the October 30, 2018 meeting, are available online. To find this information visit Michigan.gov/pfasresponse, click “Michigan PFAS Sites,” scroll down and select “More Sites” and then find the Lacks Industries link.  

MDEQ will be updating the above site with the preliminary monitoring well test results we have received within the next week. You will receive an email informing you when this update is ready to view.

Thank you again for taking time out of your busy schedule to attend the meeting and provide your input.


Contact information is provided below: 

For questions about PFAS and health, please contact either:

  • Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Division of Environmental Health hotline at 800-648-6942
  • Kent County Health Department at 616-632-6900 or KCPFAS@kentcountymi.gov

 For questions about the investigation, please contact either:

For questions directed to Lacks Enterprises, Inc., please contact:

  • Jim Green at 616-974-0857



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