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Bay Harbor Update


October 2012

Over 80 years of cement manufacturing left behind an estimated 2.5 million cubic yards of cement kiln dust (CKD) at what is now known as Bay Harbor Properties and East Park. When water comes into contact with the CKD, it can leach substances from the CKD and potentially contaminate adjacent waters. This leachate can have high pH and can contain heavy metals such as mercury, arsenic, and lead, which pose adverse impacts to water quality, fish and other aquatic life, and, potentially, human health with direct contact. CMS, a prior partner with Bay Harbor who retained environmental responsibility for the site, continues to implement the final remedy for the site.

On June 14, 2012, the State of Michigan signed an agreement with CMS Land Company that will govern the long-term remedy for the cement kiln dust (CKD) contamination at Bay Harbor and East Park. Despite the significant efforts CMS has undertaken over the years, Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council is concerned about certain components of the final agreement between the State of Michigan and CMS. We still believe there are better alternatives to the treatment and discharge to Little Traverse Bay that are more economical and offer greater protection to the resource. In addition, we are concerned about the long term enforcement by the State of Michigan.
CMS Bay Harbor Map

Remediation Efforts at Bay Harbor Properties and East Park

Collection Lines

  • CMS installed approximately 3,000 feet of collection lines along the shoreline in front of the piles of CKD in Bay Harbor properties and East Park.
  • The collection lines are preventing the majority of leachate from entering Little Traverse Bay and installation has reduced the pH to protect public health.

East Park

  • CMS completed additional activities in East Park including removal and relocation of the eastern most portion of CKD, installation of a collection line along the shore, and installation of a liner over the CKD to prevent surface infiltration of water.
  • Upon the Watershed Council’s suggestion, CMS installed a stormwater management feature, the Downstream Defender.
  • East Park reopened to the public in June of 2009 with a “Public Health Advice” from the Health Department of Northwest Michigan. The “Public Health Advice” is a precautionary notification to the public that lake water at the park may cause skin or eye irritation and recommends rinsing with tap water after contact with the lake.
Mercury Flux Data 2010 Bay Harbor and East Park

Additional Work

  • A 400-foot stretch of CKD and leachate accumulation along the bottom of the boat channel of Village Harbor Lake was capped.
  • A targeted leachate collection well was installed at the Bay Harbor Development to remove leachate directly from within a specific CKD pile.
  • CMS obtained control over 2 former City of Petoskey Municipal Wells. Currently, water is being pumped from the municipal wells to use as dilution water for discharge of treated leachate to Little Traverse Bay.
  • CMS collected a significant amount of data to determine the extent of contamination including groundwater modeling and mercury flux analysis.

Final Agreement

  • On June 14, 2012, the State of Michigan signed an agreement with CMS Land Company governing the long-term remedy. As part of the agreement, the state now has primary oversight of the remediation.
  • The final agreement is essentially a compliance contract in which CMS agreed to comply with certain provisions or pay stipulated penalties.
  • Requirements included in the original final agreement:
    • Improvements to Edge Drain CKD Leachate Collection System (the original collection line installed in 1997)
    • Modifications and enhancements to other collection lines
    • Targeted Surface Water Improvement response activities to reduce water infiltration in the Seep 2 CKD Area pile in the area upgradient of Pine Court Sub Area
    • Localized groundwater diversion well system upgradient of Seep 2 CKD Area to prevent the production of leachate
    • Regional Groundwater Diversion system – operation of two former Petoskey Municipal Wells
    • Conduct an Environmental Assessment by the 5th year anniversary
    • Shoreline pH monitoring with a requirement that pH remain below 9
    • Mercury monitoring with a requirement that mercury remain below the baseline level
    • Penalties for exceedances of mercury or pH
Requirements under Final agreement now that certain provisions were terminated:
  • Enhancement of the collection lines including installation of a new technology to reduce scaling and plugging
  • Conduct pH and mercury monitoring
  • Penalties only for pH exceedances

Termination of Final Agreement Provisions

  • In June of 2012, the Legislature made amendments to Michigan’s cleanup law, in particular, how venting mercury in groundwater is addressed. Now, if mercury venting in groundwater is deemed to have a minimal impact upon the water resources, no action is needed to address the release of mercury.
  • As a result of the new law, provisions that were included in the original agreement were terminated in July 2012.
  • The original remedy proposed by CMS, and approved by the EPA, called for additional actions to be taken to maintain and reduce the levels of mercury. Since the State is now in charge of the clean-up, when the new law was passed in Michigan, CMS requested that certain requirements be terminated. The state agreed to the termination request. Specifically, CMS no longer needs to conduct any additional measures to reduce the mercury and other contaminants of concern venting to Lake Michigan in groundwater. CMS will still be monitoring the levels of mercury entering Little Traverse Bay, but there will be no limit on the amount of mercury that can be released or any requirement to reduce the levels.

Disposal of Collected Leachate

  • CMS is currently disposing of collected leachate by both discharge to Little Traverse Bay and a deep injection well outside of Johannesburg, Michigan.
  • CMS obtained a permit from the state of Michigan for a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit under the Federal Clean Water Act to discharge leachate to the surface waters of Lake Michigan on December 29, 2010.
  • CMS funded the research and development of the Captur Process to remove mercury from the collected leachate.
  • According to CMS, testing results demonstrate that the Captur technology is reducing the mercury content in the collected leachate from East Park to less than 1.3 parts per trillion, the state mercury standard for surface waters. Treated leachate still requires dilution prior to discharge to meet water quality standards for other parameters.
  • CMS collects an average of 150,000 gallons of water a day as part of its remediation efforts at East Park and Bay Harbor.
  • The treatment plant at Bay Harbor is operational, but not yet at full capacity. CMS hopes to have it operating at full capacity in the near future. Approximately 40-60% of the collected leachate still goes to the deep injection well outside of Johannesburg.
  • An agreement between the DEQ and CMS requires CMS to evaluate deep injection as a disposal option if CMS fails to meet final limits for total mercury releases specified in its discharge permit, and fails to cure the problem within six months or if after July 1, 2013, CMS trucks more than 100,000 gallons a day of leachate for disposal at the off-site injection well for 90 consecutive days. 

Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council has been actively involved in the remediation efforts at Bay Harbor and East Park since the contamination came to light. We are working to ensure the protection of our Northern Michigan environment, economy, and way of life. Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council will continue to monitor the progress at the site, including the discharge of collected leachate to Little Traverse Bay. We fully intend to remain engaged to protect the health of our surface waters and Great Lakes, and the citizens and visitors who rely upon those water resources. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Jennifer McKay at the Watershed Council at 231-347-1181 or by email at jenniferm@watershedcouncil.org.

Links of Interest

Important Documents

The files below contain important documents that pertain the to history of Bay Harbor and East Park.
Agreements and Documents Governing Remediation
Public Health Advisories
Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council • 426 Bay Street, Petoskey, MI 49770
PH: (231) 347-1181 • Fax: (231) 347-5928 • www.watershedcouncil.org
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