Questions about Background

Q: What information has been collected in the Kingsford Study Area?

A: Information about soil, groundwater, soil vapor, surface water, and sediment conditions has been collected by Arcadis and submitted to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ). The work to collect this information has included drilling soil borings, digging test pits, and installing groundwater monitoring wells and soil vapor probes and other types of sampling. Hundreds of soil, groundwater, and vapor samples have been collected from over 1,000 soil borings, 280 groundwater monitoring wells, and 500 soil vapor probes. This thorough investigation was done because of the complex geology underground within the Kingsford Study Area.

Q: What studies of the Menominee River have been completed?

A: In 2000, Ford Motor Company (Ford) and The Kingsford Products Company (Kingsford Products) conducted a biological assessment of the Menominee River. In the area that was studied, there was no indication that the Menominee River or its plants and animals have been affected by groundwater from the Kingsford Study Area. However, since some of the groundwater does not meet certain MDEQ criteria, Ford and Kingsford Products built and are operating a groundwater treatment system to address this issue.

Questions about Methane

Q: What is methane?

A: Also known as natural gas, methane is a naturally occurring compound commonly used for heating and cooking purposes. It is not harmful to the body if one touches or breathes it. Methane concentrations from 5 to 15 percent by volume in a confined area may present a fire hazard. At higher levels (greater than 80 percent), if methane (as with any other gas) were to displace oxygen in a confined space, asphyxiation could occur.

Q: What's the difference between dissolved-phase methane in the groundwater and gas-phase methane in the ground?

A: Certain conditions below the ground surface, such as pressure (generally associated with depth below ground), can cause methane to remain dissolved in the groundwater at higher concentrations. This is referred to as dissolved-phase methane. As the groundwater flows towards (and up into) the river in the Kingsford Study Area the pressure decreases, causing some of the methane to come out of the groundwater as a gas, where it may be present below the ground surface in the spaces between soil particles. This is referred to as gas-phase methane.

Q: What is methane venting?

A: Methane venting is the process by which gas-phase methane is safely released from below the ground surface into the atmosphere. Two types of venting take place in the Kingsford Study Area: active venting systems that are mechanically driven using a vacuum applied to the soil below the ground surface, and passive venting systems that use wells/piping installed below ground to release gas-phase methane through changes in atmospheric pressure.

Click here to view photos of Venting Systems

Q: Is it still necessary to maintain a detector in my house?

A: As of January 2017, if a vapor control system (VCS) has been installed in your home to prevent any potential gas accumulation and entry, maintaining a methane detector is no longer required by the MDEQ. If you currently do not have a VCS installed or have a question regarding your methane detector, please call the local Arcadis office at 906.776.0853.

Q: What should I do if my methane detector goes off?

A: If the detector sounds continuously, leave your house at once. Do not switch any lights or appliances on or off. From outside your house using a portable telephone (cordless or cell), or from a neighbor's telephone, call 911. Kingsford residents will be contacted by the Kingsford Public Safety Department in response to your 911 call; Breitung Township residents will be contacted by the Breitung Township Fire Department. The responding officers will determine the cause of the sounding and initiate any actions necessary. Please do not return to your house until the safety officers say that it is safe to do so.

In addition, Arcadis will conduct a follow-up investigation on every detector sounding to verify safe conditions and gather additional information to help improve the program.

Q: What does it mean if my detector emits a short beep every thirty seconds and the LED light flashes?

A: The detector has reached the end of its life cycle or has an internal malfunction and needs to be replaced. Please call Arcadis at 906.776.0853 for a replacement detector or to determine if a detector is still necessary.

Q: How many homes has Ford and Kingsford Products found methane in?

A: None. Since Ford and Kingsford Products implemented the methane program, 99 percent of all buildings have been inspected and there have been no detections of methane associated with historical Ford and Kingsford Products activities within residential structures in the Kingsford Study Area.

Q: How can I have my methane detector checked to see if it is working properly?

A: Instructions on how to test your methane detector can be found in the Owner's Manual (see link below) or you can contact Kingsford Public Safety Department at 906.774.2525 or Arcadis at 906.776.0853 for assistance.

Click here to read Methane Detector Owner's Manual

Q: Do Ford and Kingsford Products offer methane monitoring throughout the Kingsford Study Area?

A: Yes. Since 1998, Ford and Kingsford Products have implemented a methane monitoring program within the area. The goal of the program is to help ensure that any methane that could potentially reach shallow soils is identified long before a potential safety hazard could develop. The Consent Judgment states that Ford and Kingsford Products will continue these programs.

Questions about Former Disposal Areas

Q: How have the former disposal areas been developed for future use?

A: Remedial / response measures implemented at the properties and the programs available for development in the area actually create a viable option for beneficial reuse and development of these properties. The activities completed in these areas, combined with the utility and roadway improvements and construction, were all completed in accordance with zoning restrictions, building codes, and future city development and use plans, and actually enhance the value and potential for development.

It is important to note that the former Riverside Disposal Area and Lodal Park have belonged to the City historically, and are therefore not taxable properties. Ford and Kingsford Products have constructed a regulation-size soccer field and supporting facilities at the RDA, including a concession stand/locker room complex to enhance community facilities and usage. In addition, a roadway extension with complete utilities was constructed that not only improves ease of travel and usage, but facilitates future development in the area. Final grading and seeding activities at Lodal Park and improvements in the storm water drainage have provided additional and better usage of the park area throughout the year.

The former Northeast Pit is covered with an asphalt surface suitable for use as a parking lot (complete with required storm water controls). The property is now ideally suited and ready for development, which, when completed, will increase the local property tax base.

Click here to view photos of the Former Riverside Disposal Area

Click here to view photos of Lodal Park/Former Southwest Pit

Click here to view photos of the Former Northeast Pit

Click here to view photos of the Groundwater Treatment Plant

Questions about Vapor Control Systems

Q: What is a vapor control system?

A: The purpose of a vapor control system is to prevent unwanted gases, such as methane, from possibly accumulating beneath a structure, and to eliminate the potential for the gas to enter the structure. It is similar to common radon systems meant to keep naturally-occurring radon gas out of houses. A vapor control system consists of an extraction pipe inserted below the lowest level of the structure that is routed outside and above the roofline to continuously vent the area beneath the structure and prevent the accumulation of vapors.

Click here to view more photos of Vapor Control Systems

Click here for a Flyer on Understanding Vapor Control Systems

Q: Can my vapor control system be used to remove radon gas?

A: It is IMPORTANT that you contact Arcadis before installing a radon system or modifying a vapor control system within the Kingsford Study Area. Arcadis will work with your radon contractor to determine if additional equipment, provided by Arcadis, is needed to make the systems compatible.

Click here for additional radon information

Questions about Access to Information

Q: How are you keeping the community informed about your activities?

A: Arcadis, Ford, and Kingsford Products regularly update City and Township officials about activities in the Kingsford Study Area. Ford and Kingsford Products also meet individually, as needed, with community members who have specific questions. In addition, Arcadis maintains this website, has established an information repository at the Dickinson County Library, and is available for questions at 906.776.0853.

Q: If I sell my house can I receive a report for the new owner showing what has been done to protect my home against methane?

A: Yes. Arcadis maintains a database for each residential and commercial building located in the Kingsford Study Area. If you would like a copy of the report on your home for any reason, please contact Arcadis at 906.776.0853 and one will be provided to you. This report will show dates and results of all inspections, detector alarms (if any), dates of all sealing or vapor control system details.

Questions about Safety

Q: Is it safe for people to use and play on the former disposal areas located at Kingsford Commemorative Field or Lodal Park?

A: Yes. The response activities completed at the former disposal areas have addressed environmental concerns and ensure that these areas are safe for recreational use. Ongoing monitoring is completed to ensure these areas remain safe.

Q: Is the water that services my house safe to drink?

A: Yes. All residential and commercial locations in the Kingsford Study Area are serviced by City water from wells located outside the Study Area and are not affected in any way by historical operations.

Q: Are private water wells allowed in the Kingsford Study Area?

A: No. Both the City of Kingsford and Breitung Township have ordinances in place that prohibit installation, use, and maintenance of water wells in the Kingsford Study Area.

Questions about the Consent Judgment

Q: What is a Consent Judgment?

A: A Consent Judgment is a formal legal agreement, approved by a court, which reflects the settlement of an issue between parties. The Consent Judgment for the Kingsford Study Area was signed by the State of Michigan, Ford Motor Company and The Kingsford Products Company. It was approved by the court on October 26, 2004, with a modification also approved by the court on August 22, 2016.

Click here to read the full consent judgment.

Q: What does the Consent Judgment require?

A: The Consent Judgment outlines a formal approach for long-term environmental response and monitoring activities in the Kingsford Study Area. The Consent Judgment states that Ford and Kingsford Products will implement their programs to address environmental conditions including methane, groundwater and several former disposal areas. These activities include methane venting/removal, the methane program for residences and non-residential buildings, the operation of a groundwater treatment plant, and appropriate response actions at the former disposal areas.

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