Buffum MKE Site
- Milwaukee, WI (Milwaukee County)
Community Involvement Coordinator
Susan Pastor (email@example.com)
312-353-1325 or 800-621-8431, ext. 31325
Environmental and Disease Control Specialist
Milwaukee Health Department (MHD)
Wisconsin Department of Health Services (WDHS)
Ryan Wozniak - Toxicologist
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR)
Mark Drews - Hydrogeologist
City of Milwaukee
RACM Senior Environmental
(where to view written records)
WDNR Service Center
2300 N. Dr. Martin Luther King Drive.
Contact OSC Kathy Halbur to view the file.
The Buffum MKE site, 3456 N. Buffum St, is a half-acre lot in a mixed residential/ commercial/industrial area of Milwaukee. The Beerline Trail, a 4,000-foot-long recreational trail, is located to the south and west. An abandoned 100-year-old, three-story building with a long history of industrial uses is located on the property.
Over the years, the building housed a furniture (billiard table) factory, yeast manufacturer, feed and fertilizer supplier, animal research laboratory, chemical processor, soap manufacturer, industrial wheel manufacturer, plastics manufacturer, fiberglass fabricator, reclaimer and processor of scrap and electronic metals, and woodworking shop. The building has been vacant since 2008 and has fallen into disrepair.
Today, there are numerous abandoned containers of hazardous waste and many piles of hazardous ash in the building. A portion of the roof has collapsed causing stormwater leakage which has mixed with the waste. Pollutants have been discharged to the sump and possibly sewer. There is also evidence of regular trespassing and illegal dumping.
Contaminants of concern include lead, mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), chlorinated solvents, waste oil, flammable and corrosive materials, and asbestos.
The city of Milwaukee secured the building and posted warning notices. EPA did a site “assessment” after the city requested assistance in fall 2013. Based on the results of that assessment, EPA agreed that a cleanup was warranted.
You will need the free Adobe Reader to view some of the files on this page. See EPA's PDF page to learn more.
EPA removed over 300 tons of solid waste, a dozen drums of liquid waste, and numerous cylinders from inside this historic building in summer 2014. EPA and its contractors were on-site 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., weekdays. Security was present during non-working hours. Contaminants in the waste included lead, PCBs, asbestos, and mercury. “Non-hazardous” waste went to Orchard Ridge Landfill in Menomonee Falls, Wis. “Hazardous” waste was sent to appropriate treatment and disposal facilities across the country. EPA continuously monitored the air to make sure neighboring homes weren’t affected by harmful dust during the waste removal work.
EPA was unable to address all of the hazards because of the building’s failing roof and poor structural conditions. The city of Milwaukee condemned the building and issued a “raze order” to the owner in August 2014. Since the owner did not take down the building or appeal the order, the city is planning to demolish the building this spring. In the meantime, EPA secured the building and is monitoring stormwater runoff. EPA will coordinate with the city during demolition to remove any remaining hazards. During the demolition, residents can expect increased truck traffic on Keefe Avenue and Holton and Buffum Streets as well as in the alleys surrounding the property, similar to last year. Access to the nearby Beerline Trail may also be restricted at times.
EPA is working closely with the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee, Milwaukee Neighborhood Services, Milwaukee Fire Department, Milwaukee Health Department, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and Wisconsin Department of Health Services. RACM is pursuing funding from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation for the demolition.
- EPA Removing Abandoned Waste at Industrial Property (PDF) (1p, 124K) May 2014
- La EPA remueve desechos abandonados en local industrial (PDF) (1p, 119K) May 2014
- Blighted Property Evaluated For Environmental Cleanup (PDF) (1 pg, 30 K) March 2014
Pollution / Situation Reports (POLREPS)
- Buffum POLREP #3 (PDF) (7 pp, 45K) Aug 14, 2014
- Buffum POLREP #2 (PDF) (5 pp, 38 K) July 2, 2014
- Buffum POLREP #1 (PDF) (5 pp, 30 K) June 17, 2014
- Buffum Street Site Map (PDF) (1 pg, 86 K) March 2014