October 24, 2022
Menominee, Mich. (October
24, 2022) – This morning, the Unified Command announced that it was
transitioning to a Multi-Agency Coordination (MAC) Group. Michigan EGLE will be
leading remaining fire-related activities, namely the Site Cleanup and the Water Management & Treatment.
EPA remains in a support role providing data coordination.
final data will be published on this website after validation is complete. All
previous incident updates and documents are available on this page under Documents.
On Thursday, October 6,
emergency crews responded to a fire at the Menominee, Michigan Resolute Forest
Products warehouse. EPA personnel arrived onsite to provide air monitoring and
air sampling at the site and in the surrounding communities for common contaminants
related to industrial fires. No chemical compounds above health screening
levels were detected.
EPA coordinated with the
Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) and
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) on surface water sampling and
testing related to potential run-off from the incident to the Menominee
wastewater treatment plant and adjacent Menominee River. EPA, state agencies
and local water utilities coordinated to implement sampling to confirm that
there are no impacts to drinking water supplies and are sharing results as they
The agencies involved have found
that treated drinking water sampling results received to date show PFAS levels
below Michigan and Wisconsin health-based or regulatory standards. Marinette
and Menominee residents have been advised to continue using their cities’ drinking
Due to the size and
persistence of the fire, firefighting water overwhelmed the storage capacity of
responders. Although most runoff water has been successfully managed, some
runoff, potentially contaminated with industrial chemicals and PFAS stored onsite,
entered the Menominee river. EPA assisted EGLE and WDNR on surface
water sampling at over 20 locations for potential runoff from the incident
site. Samples have been analyzed for volatile organic compounds (VOCs),
semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs), metals, herbicides and PFAS.
Several million gallons of
fire suppression water have been collected to minimize runoff of fire-related
contaminants into to the Menominee and Marinette water treatment plant and
adjacent Menominee River. Diking, levees, and a collection pond were constructed to store runoff water while a water treatment system could be built. Tyco
Fire and its contractors Arcadis and Clean Harbors are leading this effort,
which is being coordinated and overseen by EGLE and EPA.
Air Monitoring and Sampling
Due to air emissions concerns
following the start of the fire, Marinette County Emergency Management and the
Menominee County Office of Emergency Management issued precautionary
shelter-in-place orders for residents downwind of the fire. The Marinette
County order was lifted on October 7 at 6 p.m., and the Menominee County order
was lifted on October 9 at 7 a.m.
During the fire, EPA staff continuously
conducted air monitoring at the site and in surrounding communities. On October 11, 2022, EPA air monitoring
detected higher levels of particulates in the surrounding community than on
previous days since the fire started. EPA scientists and state and local public
health officials continue to review new data, but thus far no levels of
chemical compounds have exceeded state health standards.
Air data collection and
evaluation continued at a scale that Unified Command determined was appropriate, based on steadily improving fire suppression and debris management
Unified Command: A Multi-Agency
In order to streamline
operations for the emergency response, twelve coordinating agencies at city,
state, and federal levels assembled into a Unified Command. This structure
facilitates effective management of a complicated, hazardous incident by
agencies with different geographic and functional responsibilities.
EPA led the Unified
Command, which included the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes,
and Energy (EGLE), Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Michigan
Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), Wisconsin Department of Health
Services (DHS), Menominee County, Marinette County, Public Health, Delta &
Menominee Counties, Marinette County Public Health, the cities of Menominee and
Marinette, and the industrial tenants of the warehouse.
After the the Menominee Fire Department announced the fire was out on October 21, 2022, the Unified Command transitioned to a Multi-Agency Coordination Group on October 24. Michigan EGLE leads the Site Cleanup Team and the Water Management & Treatment Team activities, and EPA continues to provide support with data and site cleanup.