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Lower Fox River and Green Bay Site

Site Information
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Contact Information

Community Involvement Coordinator
Susan Pastor (pastor.susan@epa.gov)
312-353-1325 or 800-621-8431, ext. 31325

Remedial Project Manager
James Hahnenberg (hahnenberg.james@epa.gov) 312-353-4213 or 800-621-8431, ext. 34213

More government experts

Repositories

(where to view written records)

Appleton Public Library
225 N. Oneida Street
Appleton, WI

Brown County Library
515 Pine Street
Green Bay, WI

Door County Library
104 S. Fourth Ave.
Sturgeon Bay, WI

Oneida Community Library
201 Elm Street
Oneida, WI

Oshkosh Public Library
106 Washington Ave.
Oshkosh, WI

An Administrative Record, which contains detailed information upon which the selection of the cleanup plan was based, is available at:

DNR Lower Fox River Basin Team
801 E. Walnut Street
Green Bay, WI

Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources
Bureau of Watershed Management
101 S. Webster Street, 3rd Floor Madison, WI

EPA Record Center
77 W. Jackson Blvd., 7th Floor
Chicago, IL

Background

The Lower Fox River, located in northeastern Wisconsin, begins at the Menasha and Neenah channels leading from Lake Winnebago and flows northeast for 39 miles where it discharges into Green Bay and Lake Michigan. Approximately 270,000 people live in the communities along the river. The river has 12 dams and includes the highest concentration of pulp and paper mills in the world. During the 1950s and 1960s, these mills routinely used PCBs in their operations which ultimately contaminated the river.(more...)

What are PCBs?

As a result of the recycling of PCB-containing carbonless copy paper, area mill operations discharged PCBs in waste streams, contaminating sediment in the Lower Fox River. The Lower Fox River is the largest source of PCBs to Lake Michigan in the basin. From 1957 to 1971, about 250,000 pounds of PCBs were released, contaminating 11 million tons of sediment. It is estimated that some 160,000 pounds of PCBs have already left the Fox River and entered Green Bay and Lake Michigan. On average, 300 to 500 additional pounds are flushed from the Lower Fox sediment each year. Floods would flush additional thousands of pounds into Green Bay. Once PCBs are released into the bay and Lake Michigan, they are extremely difficult, if not impossible, to recover.

Site Updates | Latest Update | News Releases | Fact Sheets || Technical Documents || Five-Year Reviews || Legal Documents || Public Meetings


Site Updates

Fox River Current Newsletter (PDF) (8pp, 533K) Winter 2014 (all issues of the Fox River Current- Archive)

April 2015

The seventh year of dredging in the Lower Fox River from DePere to Green Bay resumed on March 30. Three hydraulic dredges will be used to remove about 458,000 cubic yards of PCB-contaminated sediment this year. Similar to previous years, dredging will take place 24 hours per day, at least five days a week through early November (except for holidays). Another 244,000 cubic yards will be addressed through a process referred to as sand capping and covering, which started in 2011.

All dredged sediment is being pumped into the State Street dewatering facility through a pipeline. Then, the water is squeezed out by special equipment called a plate and frame press. The remaining dried sediment is loaded onto trucks to be properly disposed of. Some sediment with higher levels of PCBs will be trucked to Ridgeview Recycling and Disposal Facility in Whitelaw, near Manitowoc. Owned by Waste Management of Wisconsin, this landfill received a permit in 2012 from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to accept this type of material. Most of the sediment is taken to Veolia Hickory Meadows Landfill in Chilton.

The entire cleanup is scheduled to be completed by 2017.

To compensate for the loss of historical resources when five historical ships were pulled out of the Lower Fox River just north of the southern “railroad bridge” in Green Bay, NCR Corp. will place an extensive photography exhibit of these artifacts as well as a poster explaining their history in Green Bay’s Neville Public Museum this summer.

The ships were removed under a legal agreement signed by EPA, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the state historic preservation officer, The Neville Public Museum, and NCR Corp.’s contractor.

Last year, EPA completed a status review of the site’s cleanup so far. This type of review is required at least every five years where the cleanup is complete--or ongoing--but hazardous waste remains managed on-site. These reviews are done to ensure that the cleanup continues to protect people and the environment.

The review included:

This was the second five-year review for the Lower Fox River site. It details the site progress. The next review is scheduled for 2019.

Three legal agreements for settlements totaling about $55 million were approved in federal court in December 2014. These agreements, or consent decrees, resolve claims against six companies and two municipal sewer system operators for cleanup costs and natural resource damages in the Lower Fox River.

You will need the free Adobe Reader to view some of the files on this page. See EPA's PDF page to learn more.


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