Where We Stand

After reading about some preliminary test results for PFAS* at the former Crown Vantage landfill in Parchment, Georgia-Pacific (GP) contacted the Michigan Department of Environment Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) on Friday, September 7, 2018. We immediately agreed to work with the state on a hydrogeological study of the area around the former landfill. The study was conducted to help EGLE better understand groundwater flows in the area and identify possible sources of PFAS in the groundwater. In June, 2019 GP submitted a hydrogeological study report to EGLE. The 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 in the vicinity of the former plant.

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 was completed in June 2019 on the EGLEā€led hydrogeological study in the Parchment area, which enabled a better understanding of groundwater flow, direction and potential sources of PFAS in the Parchment and Cooper Township areas. 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.. In January, 2019 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.

Groundwater sampling has continued at regular intervals to better understand seasonal groundwater variations. This work is conducted in coordination with the EGLE.

To see the complete hydrogeological 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 a follow-up to the hydrogeological study, Georgia-Pacific is conducting a supplemental investigation at the former Crown Vantage mill site and the associated landfills. The investigation work includes installing additional groundwater monitoring wells, taking soil samples and sampling surface water.

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

GP is conducting this work under EGLE oversight and will coordinate with the agency on actions that may be appropriate as the investigation progresses.

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

Although GP never owned or operated the Crown Vantage mill and its associated landfills in Parchment, Michigan, we did work with the State of Michigan to close and cap the landfills in 2003. The mill was owned and operated by James River, a company that GP later acquired 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 paper products using 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.

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/