State investigators said early this week that soil testing in the Otsego area was continuing.
Next week, a new phase of sampling soil was expected to begin along roads where byproducts had been spread for years as dust control decades ago.
The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (then the MDEQ) began soil tests in March, searching for contamination leftover from the papermaking industry.
A written update to the community Saturday said, “The project team has been working very hard to complete an evaluation of soils in areas where waste materials from the former Menasha Paper Mill have been historically applied or disposed.”
The agency hopes to uncover any PFAS and dioxins/furans in the soil. PFAS is a set of chemicals that consists of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances that are likely carcinogens. Dioxin is a highly toxic contaminant that causes cancer, reproductive and developmental problems, damage to the immune system, and interference with hormones.
The EGLE team collected more than 6,000 samples from area farm fields where paper sludge was applied as a crop amendment and from several private properties where sludge and fly ash were disposed.
“The last phase of soil sampling, the collection of samples from roadside areas where Menasha’s black liquor was historically used as a roadbinder, will occur beginning the week of June 10,” it said.