Jump to main content.


Congressional District # 02


EPA ID# MID072569510
Last Updated: March, 2012

Site Description

The Muskegon Chemical Company (MCC) site includes 19.6 acres of the Koch Chemical Company production facility, located at 1725 Warner Street, and contamination, originating from the facility, that may have moved offsite. The contamination associated with the site is known to have migrated one-half mile southwest of the facility to Mill Pond Creek. The surrounding area is zoned for commercial use, but at present is primarily residential. Approximately 6,400 people obtain drinking water from public and private wells within three miles of the site. A private well is located 1,250 feet north of the chemical company. Surface water within three miles downstream of the site is used for recreational activities. Mill Pond and Mill Pond Creek are 2,500 feet from the site, and White Lake is 7,000 feet away from the site. 

 The Muskegon Chemical Company began production of specialty chemicals at the Whitehall facility in 1975. Groundwater contamination was initially discovered in 1977 during testing for installation of an industrial water supply well. A 1980 hydrogeologic investigation identified three primary organic contaminants of concern in the groundwater: 1,2-dichloroethane, bis-(2-chlorophyll)ether, and triglycol dichloride. The Muskegon Chemical Company installed one purge well centrally in the path of the plume. The probable source of contamination was identified as a leak in the drainage system inside the Muskegon Chemical Company manufacturing facility, which was repaired.

Site Responsibility

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

Threats and Contaminants

Volatile organic compounds, including xylenes, entered the groundwater through onsite soils. A faulty sump pump circulated contaminants onto the grounds around the facility; subsequently, leaching occurred. Groundwater contaminants seep onto the banks of Mill Creek and flow directly into Mill Pond or the creek. Potential health risks exist for individuals who ingest the contaminated groundwater. The municipal water systems draw from the aquifer affected by the groundwater contaminants; however, they draw from outside the present zone of contamination. 

Cleanup Progress

In 1981, the groundwater contamination plume from the Whitehall facility was found to be discharging to Mill Pond Creek. As a result, Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) and the Muskegon Chemical Company entered into a consent agreement and a plea agreement in 1981 and 1983, respectively. The agreements required the Muskegon Chemical Company to conduct two hydrogeologic investigations and to install several groundwater purge wells and a groundwater treatment system. 

 In 1986, Muskegon Chemical Company, Koch Chemical Company, and MDNR entered a Consent Agreement which approved the existing purge well system and established a seven-year period of operation. During summer 1991, the Koch Chemical Company conducted field activities which included groundwater, surface water, and soil and sediment sampling as part of the interim response action and Remedial Investigation at the site. 

On March 10, 1993, MDNR signed a Record of Decision for the interim action which consisted of removal or extraction of contaminated groundwater in the vicinity of Mill Pond Creek and treatment of the contaminated groundwater prior to disposal or discharge. The interim response action was implemented by Koch Chemical Company in early 1993, and continues to operate.

The potentially responsible party (PRP) proposed treatment of both the soil and groundwater. The soil remedy consists of soil vapor extraction (SVE) and air sparging to meet limited industrial cleanup standards with a combination of passive SVE and natural attenuation to meet residential standards. The groundwater remedy consists of high flow rate groundwater extraction, treatment to groundwater- surface water interface criteria, and reinjection followed by natural attenuation to meet unrestricted use. The PRP completed construction of this system in 1995.  The state approved the Remedial Action Plan (RAP) in June, 1997. 

Construction completion for the site was documented in the preliminary close out report dated June, 1997.  Since the Remedial Action resulted in hazardous substances at the site above health-based levels which do not allow for unlimited use and unrestricted exposure, five-year reviews are required.  The first five-year review was conducted by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) in 1998.

Five-Year Reviews for the Site are on-going since the remedy does not allow for unlimited use and unrestricted exposure. The third five-year review was completed by U.S. EPA and MDEQ on April 4, 2008. A copy of the report can be found on-line at http://www.epa.gov/region5superfund/fiveyear/reviews_pdf/michigan/muskegon_chemical_2008_fyr_in_291946.pdf.

That review determined that the remedy 1) remained protective of human health and the environment in the short-term and 2) follow-up actions are necessary to ensure long-term protectiveness. Recommended follow-up actions include evaluating the institutionals controls and the vapor intrusion pathway, development of shutdown criteria for the air sparge system and modifying the Remedial Action Plan, along with continuing the on-going grounwater monitoring and maintenance activities. In January 2010, MDEQ approved the RAP amendment. The other actions are on-going.  The fourth five-year review is due by April 4, 2013.

The public information repository is located at 3900 W. White Lake Drive in Whitehall, Michigan.





Remedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA
sheri bianchin (bianchin.sheri@epa.gov)
(312) 886-4745

Community Involvement Coordinator, U.S. EPA
susan pastor
(312) 353-1325




Site Profile Information

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


Local Navigation

Jump to main content.