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EPA adds St. Louis, Mich., site to superfund national priorities list; Proposes St. Clair Shores site

Release Date: 03/05/2010
Contact Information: Mick Hans, 312-353-5050, hans.mick@epa.gov (MDNRE) Robert McCann, 517-373-7917, mccannr@michigan.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
No. 10-OPA021

(CHICAGO – March 3, 2010) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has added the Gratiot County Golf Course site in St. Louis, Mich., to the Superfund National Priorities List. Superfund is the federal program that investigates and cleans up the most complex and uncontrolled hazardous waste sites in the U.S.

Another Michigan site, the PCB-contaminated St. Clair Shores Drain site in St. Clair Shores, north of Detroit, was proposed for addition to the NPL. A 60-day public comment period about the proposed St. Clair Shores Drain listing begins today.

The Gratiot County site lies east of the Hidden Oaks Golf Course on Monroe Road. From 1956 to 1970, the nearby Velsicol Chemical plant disposed of liquid industrial waste by open pit burning in this area. The disposal area was proposed to the NPL in 1982 and at that time Velsicol excavated 68,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil. As a result, the proposed NPL listing was cancelled. In 2006, additional soil and ground water contamination was found, and EPA and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (now Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment) decided to propose the site as a new listing. With today’s action, the site is now eligible for further analysis and development of cleanup options by the agencies. Private residential or municipal drinking water wells are not believed to be affected. Addressing the site under Superfund can remove potential future risks.

The St. Clair Shores Drain site lies beneath the intersection of Bon Brae Street and Harper Avenue, in St. Clair Shores. The site area includes an underground storm sewer corridor and nearby soils contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls. PCBs have also migrated to and contaminated sediment throughout the 10 Mile Drain storm sewer system, and are present in canals where the sewer discharges, as well as in Lake St. Clair. As interim actions, EPA removed PCB-contaminated sediment in two canals in 2002, and later cleaned and installed a liner in a portion of the storm sewer where heavily contaminated soils were found. However, the canals and storm sewer have since been recontaminated. If the site is added to the NPL, EPA will be able to fully characterize the extent of the contamination and develop a comprehensive cleanup plan.

Two other sites in EPA Region 5, Chemetco, in Hartford, Ill., and the Lake Calumet Cluster site in Chicago, were also named to the Superfund list today. Nationally, 10 new sites were added to the NPL and eight sites were proposed for addition to the list. Under the NPL process, sites are first proposed and public comments considered before a determination is made to formally add a site to the list.

To date, there have been 1,620 sites on the NPL. Of these, 341 have been deleted resulting in 1,279 sites currently on the NPL (including the 10 new sites added today). With the proposal of eight new sites, there are 61 proposed sites awaiting final agency action: 56 in the general Superfund section and five in the federal facilities section. Currently, there are a total of 1,340 final and proposed sites.

Links to the Federal Register notice, information on submitting comments, background on the NPL process and summaries of the sites newly added or proposed are at http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/npl/current.htm.

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