PFAS Remediation Water Extension Project

Residential Connection FAQ – 9.07.22 Update
 
The Burger/Goodwood Neighborhood water extension project is just about ready to get started! Construction crews are scheduled to begin on September 14th and you can learn more about the timeline of activities on the Township website. In the meantime, the most common questions we are receiving about the project are related to residents connecting to the system. Below you will find answers to some of the most common inquiries. It should also be noted that due to the nature of the project, the answers below can change week-to-week or even day-to-day. We will update this document whenever there is new information available.
 
WHEN CAN I CONNECT TO THE WATER SYSTEM?
The connection process will take place in three phases (see the map for an outline of the phases.) Currently any residence that is in an area where the water main was previously installed are eligible to connect. Those residences have been notified directly to begin the process. For those residences in Phase I of the project that are having watermain installed in front of their home, the residential connection process will begin in Spring 2023. You can review the project timeline on our PFAS Remediation webpage to get a better idea of when you will be able to connect based on current timeline projections. This winter, the Township will send a comprehensive communication to all Phase I homeowners in preparation for the spring connection process. While Phase II is currently under design, it is expected those connections will begin in Spring 2024.
 
DO I HAVE TO CONNECT TO THE SYSTEM?
At this time the Township has not adopted a ground water use restriction ordinance that would require residents to connect. However, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) is still determining what regulations may be necessary to remediate the PFAS contamination in the area as part of their conversations with the airport. It is very likely the Township will be asked to consider such an ordinance in the future, possibly as soon as this fall/winter. This type of ordinance has been adopted in other areas where PFAS contamination has occurred in the groundwater, with Plainfield and Algoma Townships being the most recent example.
 
CAN I KEEP MY WELL FOR IRRIGATION PURPOSES?
As mentioned above, the Township has not yet adopted a groundwater use restriction ordinance and is waiting on EGLE before the next steps are taken. It is likely that any ordinance under consideration would have a well exception process for irrigation similar to what was passed in Plainfield and Algoma Townships in the areas affected by the Wolverine Worldwide contamination. In the meantime, if a resident chooses to keep their well for irrigation, they are responsible for all costs for any modifications necessary to keep the well for irrigation and these costs will not be reimbursed should the well need to be abandoned in the future.
 
WHAT ARE THE DOWNSIDES TO KEEPING MY WELL FOR IRRIGATION PURPOSES ONLY? 
If there is PFAS in your water, this is not a good idea.  While PFAS doesn’t break down easily, it easily travels into grass, plants and gardens.  Also, humans come into contact with irrigation water.  The safest course is to take advantage of the well capping and close your well if you know or have any suspicion that there is PFAS in the well water. 
 
CAN I WAIT TO CONNECT UNTIL THERE IS MORE CLARIFICATION ON THE REQUIREMENTS?
Absolutely. If you want to wait until the final rules and regulations are in place for connection, you can do that. In the meantime, the Township/County have provided several interim clean-water solutions that are outlined below. Once the final rules and regulations are in place the Township will send a communication directly to homeowners outlining the rules and providing a timeline for any required connections.
 
WHAT IS THE PROCESS FOR CONNECTION?
Through a competitive bidding process, the City of Grand Rapids has approved the following companies as plumbers for making the private service connections:
 
                  McDonald Plumbing                                                         BRIK Plumbing
                   Attn: Grace Thumser                                                      Attn: Kraig Keegstra
                       (616) 698-6771                                                                 (616) 277-1561
         gthumser@mcdonaldplumbing.com                                kraig@brikplumbing.com
 
At this time, all project area residents that already have watermain installed in front of their house are eligible to contact the approved plumbers to schedule a connection. If you are unsure whether or not you already have watermain installed in front of your house, you can contact the project team at goodwoodwater@gmail.com for clarification. The plumbers have also been provided a list of homes that are eligible to connect at this time.
 
Here is the process that will be followed for connections:

  • The property owner can coordinate with one or both of the pre-approved plumbing companies and select the company that they feel most comfortable working at their house.
  • The plumbing company will provide Prein & Newhof (P&N) and the City of Grand Rapids with a property specific quotation form.  This information will also be available to the property owner.
  • P&N will coordinate with the City of Grand Rapids to review the property specific quotation form and verify that it is in line with the costs received at the time of bidding.
  • Once verification of pricing is validated the plumbing company will be approved to complete the work.
  • The plumbing contractor will coordinate with both the City of Grand Rapids and Cascade Township for required inspections.
  • After completion of the work, the plumbing company must compile and submit all required paperwork to P&N and the City of Grand Rapids for review and payment.
  • The City of Grand Rapids will approve payments to be made directly to the plumbing company.
Please note that each connection is unique and there may be questions you have or issues specific to the connection at your home. Please discuss all those issues with your selected plumber and they will review with the project team to determine what is included in the project costs.

WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS FOR CLEAN WATER UNTIL I AM ABLE TO CONNECT?
Cascade Township and the Kent County Health Department have approved several options for clean water until the public water main project is complete.
 
If you have a positive PFAS test above the MCL limit: The Township has committed to providing a whole house filtration system at no cost to you, including periodic maintenance. If you are interested in this service, please contact Culligan Water – Grand Rapids at 616-791-7150. They have been given a list of households that qualify for this service based on the testing completed by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE). If you have a PFAS above the MCL limits that was done by an entity other then EGLE, you can provide it to Township Manager Ben Swayze at bswayze@cascadetwp.com to be added to the list.
 
If you have a positive PFAS test at any level: The Kent County Health Department is providing free point-of-use filters, including installation and periodic filter changes. If you are interested in this service, please contact the Kent County Health Department at 616-632-7100 or KCPFAS@kentcountymi.gov.
 
If you live in the PFAS contamination area: The Township has committed to providing bottled water service up until homes are able to connect to the public water system, whether or not they have had a positive PFAS test of not. If you are interested in bottled water service, please contact Culligan Water – Grand Rapids at 616-791-7150.
 
If you don’t see your question/answer above, you can always reach out to the project email address at goodwoodwater@gmail.com.
 
P&N Construction Update Page
In addition to this project page maintained by Cascade Township, Prein & Newhof is also maintaining a project page which will be updated regularly regarding weekly work schedules once the project begins: https://www.preinnewhof.com/construction_projects/cascade-goodwood/.

Map outlining project phases

August 2, 2022 - Project update

June 10, 2022 - Update of the project schedule

May 31, 2022 - Update to the project plan

In partnership with the City of Grand Rapids, the Township applied for and was awarded a $5 million grant to begin the extension of municipal water service to the Trout Creek area, where drinking wells have been contaminated with PFAS. In addition, the state of Michigan has provided $1.65 million for the project. This funding ensures phase 1 of the project can begin in 2022. The Township and other project partners are pursuing funding for phase 2 of the project, which is expected to be completed in 2023.
 
PFAS – per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances – are a group of human-made chemicals that have been manufactured and used since the 1940s. They are used in various industries, from fast food to cookware to firefighting, and are known for their repelling qualities. They have been linked to certain types of cancers and other health issues.
 
On this page, you will find regularly updated information about the water extension project, including meeting dates, construction progress, FAQs and more.

If you are interested in receiving email updates regarding the PFAS Remediation Water Extension Project, click here to subscribe to the PFAS e-news list.  
 
 PDF Icon PFAS Grant Application

 PDF Icon PFAS Project Map

 PDF Icon Safe Water for Cascade - PFAS Community Forum Presentation

 PDF Icon PFAS Meeting - Letter to Residents

 PDF Icon Watermain Plans 

 PDF Icon Community Meeting - Prepared Slides

 February 3, 2022 Citizens Meeting Video Recording

 PFAS Citizens Committee Agendas/Packets - This committee meets the first Thursday   of each month at 4:00 p.m. at the Cascade Library Wisner Center (2870 Jacksmith Dr.   SE).

 State of Michigan PFAS Action Response Team

 State of Michigan PFAS Action Response Team - Cascade Township

 State of Michigan PFAS Action Response Team -  Gerald R. Ford International Airport

 PFAS Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) in Michigan

 Michigan Science Advisory Workgroup Report