Marquette County Board approves $9 million bond for PFAS treatment plant funding


Journal Staff Writer

MARQUETTE — The Marquette County Board of Commissioners approved a bond Tuesday for up to $9 million to construct a per- and polyfluoroalkyl treatment plant at the Marquette County Landfill.

PFAS substances are a large group of man-made chemicals that are found in thousands of commonly used products, including food packaging wrappers, nonstick pots and pans, cosmetics, insect repellents and firefighting foam.

These “forever” chemicals are persistent in the environment and in the human body, meaning they don’t break down and can accumulate over time. Even at low levels, PFAS can cause cancers and other health problems, according to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy.

“The board has no financial responsibility for solid waste treatment, but the (Marquette Solid Wastewater Management Authority) has some funding that has a sunset clause,”said Joe Derocha, chairman of the Marquette County Board of Commissioners.

“If the PFAS treatment plant isn’t constructed by 2027, the cost could be three times as expensive,”

“We saw a chance here to assist the wastewater management authority by doing gap funding to get them over the hump. Our overall goal is to mitigate the tipping fees for Marquette County residents, while maintaining good fiscal responsibility.”

The PFAS treatment plant needs to start construction by September in order to meet the timeline for completing the plant by 2027, according to Derocha. If the plant isn’t completed, MSWMA would have to truck 17 million gallons downstate. EGLE has made PFAS discharge levels more strict.

“Marquette is kind of first to the table on this, but cities across Michigan will be dealing with this as well,” Derocha said.

The Marquette County Board set terms that the bond would not exceed seven years and that the county board has no financial obligations outside of the sevenyear bond term.

“The landfill doesn’t belong to Marquette County and is not the board’s financial responsibility,” Derocha said. “Originally, the various cities and townships had their own landfills. Eventually, the three cities and 19 townships in the county came together at one site. The Marquette County Landfill in Sands Township receives about 60,000 tons of solid waste per year.

Vickie Fee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. Her email addres is vfee@miningjournal.net


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