Congressional District # 02
THERMO-CHEM, INC.EPA ID# MID044567162
Last Updated: February, 2015
Site DescriptionThe Thermo-Chem, Inc. Superfund site is located in Egelston Township, Muskegon County, Michigan, approximately five miles east of the city of Muskegon. Thermo-Chem, Inc. and the Thomas Solvent Company owned and operated waste solvent reprocessing and storage facilities at the site. These operations resulted in high concentrations of volatile, semivolatile and inorganic contamination of soils and groundwater. The recycling facility consisted of approximately 10 acres of land. The old recycling facility and groundwater contamination result in a site size of approximately 50 acres. Black Creek, near the southern border of the site, flows to Mona Lake and eventually into Lake Michigan. Black Creek is currently used for recreational purposes, including fishing and swimming. The area surrounding the site is semirural and comprised of residential areas, light manufacturing and commercial buildings and undeveloped woodland. Approximately 10,000 people live in a three-mile radius.
Site ResponsibilityThis site is being addressed through federal, state, and potentially responsible parties' actions.
Threats and ContaminantsSite operations resulted in high concentrations of volatile, semivolatile and inorganic contamination of soils and groundwater.
Potentially responsible parties (PRPs) have been conducting cleanup activities under a Unilateral Administrative Order dated May 6, 1992. For Operable Unit (OU) 1, site PRPs have completed the following Remedial Actions (RAs): Phase IA, Debris Removal; Phase IB, Soil Excavation, Treatment and Removal; Phase II, Groundwater Extraction and Treatment System; and Phase III, In-Situ Soil Vapor Extraction/Air Sparge System. For OU2, a Remedial Investigation was completed in 2002 and indicates that no further RA is necessary. In September 2002, an Explanation of Significant Difference was issued for the OU1 ROD to explain and justify this course of action.
There was some concern that the extraction system was not effective and that contamination was being allowed into the wetlands. The 2002 ESD requires capture of the contamination plume. A study was conducted in 2003 that confirmed the plume was indeed being captured, but that capture is dependent on how the extraction system is operated. Operation and Maintenance (O&M) procedures require that groundwater pumping rates be periodically revised (if needed) based on how groundwater north of the wells is flowing. As part of this ongoing remedy, additional extraction wells may be installed if site monitoring shows that concentrations of contaminants in groundwater are increasing and potentially returning to unacceptable levels. In addition, changes are made to the groundwater monitoring program as needed to insure that groundwater in the flood plain area of the site continues to improve.
A study was completed by site PRPs in 2004 to determine if biodegradation occurring at the Site could be enhanced by addition of nutrients to the groundwater. The study concluded that natural biodegradation without enhancement combined with operation of the constructed extraction system should decrease groundwater contaminants to acceptable levels. Site PRPs continue operation and maintenance of the Phase II and Phase III remedies with site monitoring in accordance with the O&M Plan. On May 10, 2010, EPA completed the second five-year review for the Site. In 2012, Site PRPs initiated in-situ treatment enhancements to promote reductive dechlorination which should help expedite the cleanup. In 2012, Site PRPs also started up Phase III revisions that optimized the system to expedite the site cleanup. EPA completed five-year reviews for the Site in 2005 and 2010, and plans to complete the third five-year review in May 2015.
Community InvolvementU.S. EPA and representatives for the State of Michigan and Site PRPs have been available for informal community forums. There have not been any problems or concerns communicated to U.S. EPA by the community for the past several years.
ContactsRemedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA
john fagiolo (email@example.com)
Community Involvement Coordinator, U.S. EPA
AliasesTHERMO CHEM INC