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U.S. EPA REGION 5
LIVINGSTON COUNTY
HOWELL

Congressional District # 08

SHIAWASSEE RIVER

EPA ID# MID980794473
Last Updated: January, 2012

Site Description

Since 1969, the Cast Forge Company (CFC) and now Western Wheel have manufactured aluminum cast products in Howell, Michigan, at the CFC facility. Until 1973, wastewater contaminated by hydraulic fluids containing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) was discharged by the potentially responsible parties to the South Branch of the Shiawassee River. From 1973 to 1977, wastewater was discharged into a 400,000 gallon on-site lagoon. Discharges from this lagoon, as well as periodic overflows, contaminated nearby wetlands and the Shiawassee River. 

In 1978 and 1979, the State detected high levels of PCBs in soils around the site and in on-site monitoring wells. Concentrations above one part per million (ppm) were found in Shiawassee River sediments fourteen miles downstream of the plant.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed the site for the National Priorities List (NPL) in December 1982 and finalized the site on the NPL in September 1983.

Site Responsibility

This site is being addressed through federal, state, and potentially responsible parties' actions.

Threats and Contaminants

PCBs have been detected in fish, sediments, and soil. Wetland contamination has been identified. The health threat of greatest concern is eating PCB-contaminated fish. Other health threats include direct contact with contaminated river sediments and soils. 

Cleanup Progress

In November 1977, the State filed suit against Cast Forge for PCB-contamination of the environment. The case was settled through a consent judgment in June 1981. Under that settlement, the company removed the lagoon, cleaned up PCB-contaminated soil and sediment from its property, and provided $750,000 for restoration of the Shiawassee River. Dredging of the South Branch of the Shiawassee River began in June 1982. Only the first mile downstream from the plant was vacuumed, removing approximately 2,600 pounds of PCBs, before the funding was exhausted. Both the site property and river still contain PCBs.

The State began a Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study (RI/FS) in September 1986. Field sampling activities were started in October 1987 and completed in November 1989. 

The RI report was finalized in January 1992. The FS report, which evaluated various cleanup alternatives, was submitted in December 1997. EPA released a proposed cleanup plan to the public in August 1998. Because the data used to develop cost estimates were obtained as long ago as 1986, it was determined that additional data should be obtained to develop more accurate cost estimates for the site. 

Additional sampling of the site began in November 1999 and was completed in April 2000. These sample data were released to the public in a data evaluation report in May 2000. The supplemental FS report was released in early 2001, and EPA issued a Record of Decision (ROD) on September 28, 2001. The ROD selected the floodplain and contaminated areas near the Cast Forge facility to be remediated to less than 10 ppm PCBs. The river was to be remediated to less than 5ppm PCBs for the first mile downstream of the facility. Remediation was completed in 2005, meeting all ROD requirements.

EPA issued the First Five-Year Review Report for the site on August 27, 2009. The review concluded that the remedy is protective of human health in the short term, as exposure pathways that could result in unacceptable risks to humans are currently being controlled. However, in order for the remedy to be protective in the long term, comprehensive monitoring data needs to show that PCB concentrations are decreasing in accordance with the expectations described in the 2001 ROD. The CFC facility is currently zoned for industrial use and fish advisories are in place. The site is currently being used commercially and it appears that the fish advisories are effective. Long-term protectiveness requires continued compliance with effective institutional controls. The five-year review stated that the site use was consistent with the zoning, but that EPA would continue working with the property owner to supplement the zoning control with a restrictive covenant for the CFC property. Compliance with institutional controls will be ensured by implementing, monitoring, maintaining and enforcing ICs and by maintaining the fish advisories until such time as fish tissue concentrations decrease to acceptable levels.  The five-year review also concluded that additional comprehensive sampling is needed to determine if the remedy is functioning as intended; comprehensive monitoring is expected to be completed in 2012 as indicated in the 2001 ROD.  Finally, EPA and the State may evaluate the effectiveness of existing fish advisories.

Since completion of the 2009 five-year review, a restrictive covenant has been attached to the former facility and historical contaminant source, the former Cast Forge Property at 2440 West Highland Road in Howell, Livingston County, Michigan. Current site use is consistent with the restrictive covenant and industrial zoning designation.

Contacts

Remedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA
james hahnenberg (hahnenberg.james@epa.gov)
(312) 353-4213

Community Involvement Coordinator, U.S. EPA
dave novak
(312) 886-7478

Site Profile Information

This profile provides you with information on EPA's cleanup progress at this Superfund site.

 


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