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EPA finalizes Buick City cleanup plan

Release Date: 05/19/2010
Contact Information: Mick Hans, 312-353-5050, hans.mick@epa.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
No. 10-OPA053

(CHICAGO - May 19, 2010) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 today announced its final decision on an estimated $5 million to $7 million cleanup plan to address historical contamination on the Southend portion of the former General Motors Buick City property in Flint, Mich.

A public meeting on the final plan and next steps will be scheduled soon. The Southend portion of the 452-acre property includes the area south of Leith Street, bounded to the east by Cole Boulevard and the Flint River and to the south by Harriet Street.

Due to General Motors' bankruptcy, Motors Liquidation Corp. is the successor company and current owner of the site. Buick City's Southend is the first of the former General Motors sites to have a final cleanup plan. EPA will oversee the cleanup work in consultation with Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment.

"Finalizing the cleanup plan is a key milestone in the future redevelopment of Buick City," said Margaret Guerriero, director of EPA Region 5's Land and Chemicals Division. "Most of the cleanup work will be subsurface or in isolated areas of the site. The cleanup should not impact-or slow down-any plans for a new business that wants to operate on the property."

With the cleanup plan finalized, the next step is for EPA to receive a detailed project implementation plan from MLC's contractors. Most work at the site will begin in 2011. Through the fall and winter, area residents may occasionally see sampling teams or other environmental workers at the site.

The final cleanup plan differs in just one area from the plan proposed during a public comment period in February. The final plan adds the testing of several new technologies to supplement the planned extraction system for waste solvents. The solvents, called Light Non-Aqueous Phase Liquids or LNAPL, include gasoline, diesel fuel and hydraulic fluids that leaked from underground tanks, sumps and manufacturing operations at Buick City. The original plan relied on traditional cleanup approaches to extract LNAPL from the ground water. The final plan includes both traditional and new technologies. At present, the ground water contamination is contained within the site boundaries and has not affected local drinking water supplies or reached the Flint River.

Elsewhere the plan remains the same, focusing on:

  • Lead-contaminated soil, primarily concentrated in six separate hot spots.
  • A small area of off-site lead-contaminated soil at the CSX Railroad property, located along the southeast border of Buick City.

The cleanup plan also requires a period of long-term ground water monitoring that will likely continue for decades.

Separately, EPA continues to develop a proposed cleanup plan to address the Northend of Buick City. EPA will provide an overview of the Northend contamination at the upcoming meeting.

For more information, including a fact sheet for the plan as it was proposed in February, see www.epa.gov/reg5rcra/wptdiv/sites/buickcity/. An information repository with site documents has been established at the Flint Main Branch Public Library, 1026 E. Kearsley St.

Automotive production at the Buick City property began in the 1890s. The Buick Motor Co. moved to Flint in 1903 and became a division of General Motors when that corporation was formed in 1908. The facility also produced military equipment during World Wars I and II. Manufacturing operations at the Southend portion of the site ceased in 1999.
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