Where We Stand

. . . .After reading about some preliminary test results for PFAS* at the former Crown Vantage landfill in Parchment, Georgia-Pacific contacted the Michigan EGLE on Friday, Sept. 7, 2018. We immediately agreed to work with the state on a hydrogeological study of the area around these wells. The study was conducted to help the state better understand groundwater flows in the area and potentially identify possible sources of the contamination in the wells. We have now completed the study and submitted a final report to EGLE. Results from the study show facilities associated with the former Crown Vantage paper plant appear to be a likely source for PFAS that have been detected in groundwater.

GP has a history of working cooperatively with the state of Michigan on environmental issues and we will continue to do so.

*According to the U.S. EPA, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of man-made chemicals that have been manufactured and used in a variety of industries around the world, including in the United States, since the 1940s.

Parchment Area Hydrogeological Study

Work is complete on the EGLE‐led hydrogeological study in the Parchment area, which will enable EGLE to better understand groundwater flow direction and potential sources of PFAS. Georgia-Pacific hired Tetra Tech, a global engineering firm with extensive experience in water issues, to conduct the study. Here is the work plan for the initial phase of monitoring well installation, which was approved by the state.. An addendum to the work plan was also approved by the state for installation of additional monitoring wells.

Groundwater samples were collected and analyzed from twenty-nine different locations in the Parchment and Cooper Township area from December 2018 through early March 2019. The results include 10 samples with no detectable levels of PFAS, 15 samples with levels between 2.83 parts per trillion (ppt) and 69.8 ppt, and 4 samples with levels ranging from 107.4 ppt to 3432.9 ppt.

Sampling will continue at regular intervals to better understand seasonal groundwater variations. The work is conducted in coordination with the EGLE.

To see the complete study report, click  here – or for more information about the study, please contact:

David Harn
MDEQ
Kalamazoo District Office
517.897.0881
harnd@michigan.gov

Investigation of the Former Crown Vantage Mill Site and Associated Landfill

As part of our effort to get a full understanding of potential sources of PFAS in the Parchment area, Georgia-Pacific is conducting a supplemental investigation of the former Crown Vantage mill site and the associated landfill. The investigation work includes installing additional groundwater monitoring wells on the sites, taking soil samples and sampling surface water.

Tetra Tech, the same global engineering firm that is conducting the hydrogeological study, is doing the site investigation, although the two efforts are being handled separately.

GP will conduct this work, as is being done with the current hydrogeological study, under MDEQ oversight and will coordinate with the agency on any actions that might be appropriate as the investigation progresses.

Georgia-Pacific and the Former Crown Vantage Site in Parchment, Mich.:

Although Georgia-Pacific never owned or operated the Crown Vantage mill and its associated landfill in Parchment, Mich., we did work with the Michigan DEQ to close out the landfill in 2003 and conducted additional clean-up actions at the mill site. The mill was owned and operated by James River, a company that we later bought through our purchase of Fort James in 2000; the Crown Vantage mill was not part of that acquisition.

PFAS at the Former Crown Vantage Site in Parchment, Mich.:

We believe that during the time James River owned the Parchment (former Crown Vantage) mill, the mill’s operations included, at times, the manufacture of certain paper products using certain PFAS sold by 3M. In 1995, the mill was spun off to Crown Vantage, which likely also manufactured products containing certain PFAS sold by 3M.

It’s important that we get a full understanding of potential sources of PFAS in this area, which is why we are working with the state on a hydrogeological study of the area around Parchment’s municipal wells. Once we have a better understanding of groundwater flows in the area, we can discuss next steps with the appropriate county and state officials.

Former Parchment, Mich., Crown Vantage Site Ownership and Related Events Timeline:

  • 1909: Kalamazoo Vegetable Parchment Co. (KVP) opens a parchment mill just outside the city of Kalamazoo, Mich. (community is subsequently named Parchment)
  • 1917: Sutherland Paper Co. opens boxboard mill in Kalamazoo, Mich.
  • 1960: KVP merges with Sutherland Paper Co. to form KVP-Sutherland Co.
  • 1966: Brown Co. (of Berlin, N.H.) acquires KVP-Sutherland
  • 1968: Gulf & Western Industries acquires a controlling interest in Brown Co.
  • 1980: James River Corp. purchases Brown Co.’s pulp and paper business (including KVP Plant) from Gulf & Western
  • 1987: Part of the KVP Parchment, Mich., mill landfill ceases operation
  • 1995: James River spins off several properties into what subsequently becomes a separate public company known as Crown Vantage Paper Co.
    • KVP Parchment, Mich., mill is part of that spin off
  • 1997: James River and Fort Howard merge to form Fort James Corp.
  • 2000: Crown Vantage declares bankruptcy and the mill in Parchment, Mich., along with the rest of the associated landfill, ceases operations
  • 2000: GP acquires Fort James
    • acquisition includes the Epic Dixie plant in Parchment, Mich.
  • 2015: GP closes Epic Dixie plant

 

Resources:
Kalamazoo County PFAS Water Response: www.kalcounty.com/hcs/pfasresponse.php
Michigan PFAS Action Response Team: www.michigan.gov/pfasresponse/