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Congressional District # 08


EPA ID# WIN000509952
Last Updated: May, 2012

Site Description

The WPSC Marinette former MGP ("Marinette") site is located approximately 750 feet south of  the Menominee River in Marinette, Wisconsin, about 1.5 miles upstream from the mouth of the river at Green Bay.  Manufactured Gas Plants (MGPs) were industrial facilities that produced gas from coal, oil, and other feedstocks.  The Marinette site totals about 5 acres in size, with about 4 acres on land and about 1.3 acres of potentially contaminated sediment found in an adjacent stretch of the river.

The site is currently owned by the city of Marinette and the property is now occupied by the city's wastewater treatment plant.  Other area features include Boom Landing Park, which has a public boat launch and is located between the site and the river, and a former slough that was filled in and which ran from the site to the river across what is now the park.  The Marinette site is located in an historically industrial area of the city, which counted lumber operations, asphalt manufacturing, and the MGP as major establishments. 

MGPs started operating in the United States in the early 1800s, typically in urban areas where gas was needed for lighting, cooking, and heating.  The Marinette MGP was operated from 1910 to 1960.  Two gas production methods were used at the MGP facility: coal carbonization and carbureted water gas.  Both processes produced waste and by-products such as tars, oils, sludges, and acidic waste.  Disposal of waste and spills and leaks often resulted in contaminated soil and groundwater at MGP sites.  MGPs were often located near waterbodies and thus sediment contamination is also commonly found.

Wisconsin Public Service Corporation (WPSC), an operating utility company, is a potentially responsible party for several former MGPs located throughout Wisconsin, including the Marinette site.  WPSC is addressing six of its former MGP sites under the Superfund alternative approach.

Site Responsibility

The WPSC Marinette former MGP site is being addressed through potentially responsible party (PRP) actions under state and federal oversight.

Threats and Contaminants

Soil, groundwater, and sediment at the Marinette site are contaminated with typical MGP-generated compounds that include polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and a group of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) called benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene (BTEX).  Site soil contains PAHs and BTEX contaminants and groundwater contaminants include PAHs, cyanide, naphthalene, and BTEX.  Contaminated groundwater is believed to have discharged from the site into the Menominee River via the former slough.  River sediment shows evidence of odor, sheen and/or tar associated with MGP wastes.

People could be exposed to MGP wastes at the Marinette site by dermal contact with contaminated soil or river sediment or by drinking contaminated groundwater.  Benthic (bottom-dwelling) organisms could be exposed to sediment contaminants in the river.  Exposure to the MGP contaminants could cause toxic health effects.  However, because the city owned wastewater treatment plant is located on the former MGP property exposure to contaminated soil is limited.  Residents use the city water supply for drinking; therefore, no one is drinking contaminated groundwater from the site. 

Cleanup Progress

WPSC and EPA entered a settlement agreement in May 2006 to address site conditions at six former MGP sites in Wisconsin.  Prior to this agreement, various investigations of the Marinette site were conducted from 1994 through 2002 under the Wisconsin Voluntary Cleanup program.  In 2004, a limited amount of contaminated soil was removed to accomodate the city of Marinette's modifications to its sewer line.  Investigative results showed that site groundwater flows generally north toward the Menominee River beneath the wastewater treatment plant property and easterly under Boom Landing Park.  Routine groundwater monitoring occurred annually.

Under the 2006 agreement, WPSC has agreed to conduct a remedial investigation and feasibility study at the Marinette former MGP site as well as at five other former MGP sites in Wisconsin.  Because the six sites have similar conditions and contaminants, and WPSC is a potentially responsible party for each, the agreement allows a streamlined approach to site investigation and remedy development. Some benefits of the agreement include the use of multi-site documents, a mechanism to review the adequacy of past work, and scheduling flexibility to allow WPSC to address the worst problems first.

WPSC initiated bathymetric and ambient transects for river and sediment characterization in fall 2011 and suspended the work during the winter.  Remaining investigative work began in spring 2012.  Upon completion, site data are planned to be used to formulate a river sediment cleanup plan to be conducted in fall 2012.


Remedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA
margaret gielniewski (gielniewski.margaret@epa.gov)
(312) 886-6244



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