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EPA completes 10-mile drain PCB containment liner; monitoring to continue

Release Date: 09/20/2006
Contact Information: (EPA) Mick Hans, (312) 353-5050, hans.mick@epa.gov (City of SCS) Mary Jane Winkler, (586) 447-3414, maryjane@scsmi.net

CHICAGO (Sept. 20, 2006) - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 has completed installation of a synthetic liner designed to prevent PCB seepage into the 10-Mile Drain in St. Clair Shores, Mich. The drain, 9 to 12 feet below the street at the intersection of Bon Brae Street and Harper Avenue, leads downstream into the Lange and Revere Canals, which flow into Lake St. Clair, and eventually into Lake Erie.

The $1.1 million project, overseen by a Grosse Ile, Mich.-based EPA Superfund team, began in March and built upon a partnership among EPA, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Michigan Department of Community Health, Macomb County Public Works and the city of St. Clair Shores. During an earlier (2002 - 2004) phase of the effort, EPA performed an extensive $7 million cleanup of the canals. However, follow-up sampling of the drain and canals showed high levels of PCBs still present.

The engineered resin liner was sealed inside the drainage pipe using hot water. The liner keeps the PCBs outside the pipe so they do not migrate into other parts of the drainage system. In addition to the pipe, EPA also removed PCB-contaminated soil from nine yards or public easements along the system. Sidewalks, manholes and yards damaged during the construction project have been repaired or replaced.

"The new liner was designed as a temporary solution that should work effectively for at least 15 years," said Regional Superfund Director Richard Karl. "In the interim, the city of St. Clair Shores and the Macomb County Public Works office will monitor its performance quarterly and long-term strategies will be evaluated."

"St. Clair Shores officials and residents appreciate the efforts of EPA and MDEQ during this phase of cleanup efforts," said St. Clair Shores City Manager Ken Podolski.

Anthony V. Marrocco, Macomb County public works commissioner, lauded EPA, state agencies and city officials for their work on the PCB cleanup. "The job was carried out very efficiently," said Marrocco.

PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) are a group of toxic chemicals that were widely used as coolants, insulators and lubricants. PCBs are of concern because they concentrate in the food chain resulting in health hazards to people, fish and wildlife. Congress banned the manufacture of PCBs in 1976 and those still in use are strictly regulated, but PCBs remain in the environment for many years.

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