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Congressional District # 13


EPA ID# MID980274179
Last Updated: February, 2014

Site Description

The Carter Industrials Superfund site is located at 4690 Humboldt Street in Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan.  The 3.5-acre site encompasses the Carter Industrials salvage facility and several adjacent properties in a mixed, low-income residential and light-industrial neighborhood located near downtown Detroit.  1980 Census figures reported a population of over 21,000 people living around the site. 

From 1966 to 1986, the Carter Industrials facility was used to store and salvage scrap metal including electrical capacitors and transformers. During salvage operations, dielectric fluids containing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were spilled from the capacitors and transformers,  which then contaminated the soil.  Investigations showed that the site contained seven piles of PCB-contaminated soil and debris totaling over 40,000 cubic yards in volume.  About 1.25 miles of combined sewers in the area were also contaminated with PCBs and several commercial, municipal, and residential properties adjacent to the site were found to be contaminated with PCBs caused by the direct runoff of spilled materials, storm water runoff, and wind-blown dust.  People and vehicles had also tracked PCBs off-site into the neighborhood.

Site Responsibility

The Carter Industrials site was addressed by a group of potentially responsible parties (PRPs) under state and federal oversight.

Threats and Contaminants

PCBs were the contaminant of concern at the Carter Industrials site.  People could be exposed to PCBs by dermal contact with contaminated soil and debris.  Long term exposure to PCBs can lead to carcinogenic (cancer-causing) and non-carcinogenic health effects, including developmental delays in young children.

Soils and debris contaminated with PCBs both on-site and off-site have since been cleaned up to levels suitable for residential use and no health threats remain at the site.

Cleanup Progress

EPA selected a cleanup remedy for the Carter Industrials site in a 1991 Record of Decision (ROD).  The Agency determined that the 40,000 cubic yards of PCB-contaminated soil and debris at the site would be treated using the Low Temperature Thermal Desorption (LTTD) process, which themally removes the PCB contaminants from the soil and debris for subsequent capture and off-site disposal.  In 1994, EPA amended the 1991 ROD to change the LTTD remedy to excavation and offsite disposal of the PCB-contaminated soil and debris at a Toxic Substances Control Act landfill.  EPA determiend that the amended remedy could be completed more quickly than the on-site thermal treatment remedy would have been.  The selected PCB cleanup level was one part per million (1 ppm), which would allow for unrestricted use of the site.

On September 30, 1992, about 17 potentially responsible parties (PRPs) signed a Remedial Design and Remedial Action (RD/RA) Consent Decree with EPA to complete the site cleanup actions.  After the ROD was amended in 1994, the PRPs commenced the site cleanup in August 1996 and completed it in December 1996. 

During the RD/RA Consent Decree negotiations, the site PRPs would not agree to clean up the local combined sewers that were contaminated with as much as 20,000 ppm PCBs.  The argument was that the PCBs in the sewers came from other additional sources and that other parties should be held liable for this contamination.  However, EPA disagreed with the PRPs and would not agree to delete the Carter Industrials site from the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL) unless the sewer cleanup was also completed.  The PRPs completed the sewer line cleanup during summer and fall 1996.

EPA deleted the Carter Industrials site from the NPL on March 25, 1997. Because PCBs were cleaned up to a level that is protective for residential use (1 ppm), no additional cleanup work is needed and no five year reviews are required to be conducted at the site.

Success Story

The Carter Industrials site was cleaned up to PCB levels that are protective for residential use and it was deleted from the NPL.  EPA has recovered most of the funds that it had spent at the site as well as securing the PRPs' agreement to implement a $12 million cleanup action. 

Property Reuse

The Carter Industrials site is ready for unrestricted re-use.


Remedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA
gladys beard (beard.gladys@epa.gov)
(312) 886-7253





Site Profile Information

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


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