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Congressional District # 05


EPA ID# MID980410740
Last Updated: August, 2014

Site Description

The Forest Waste Products (Forest Waste) site is located in Forest Township, Genesee County, Michigan. The site area encompasses 120 acres. Waste disposal areas located on-site include an 11-acre landfill and nine former lagoons that span a total of one acre. The site is surrounded by low-density residential development, farmland, wetlands, wood lots, a gravel quarry, and a small lake.

The site owners received a license from the state of Michigan in 1972 to dispose of general refuse and industrial and liquid waste. Wastes were accepted between 1973 and 1978. Wastes containing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs) are documented to have been disposed of in the landfill. Soils in the former lagoon area were contaminated with metals, PCBs, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The state did not renew the license in 1978 due to operational and other various violations.

Area residences use private wells for drinking water. Groundwater sampling originally defined groundwater contamination as limited to the original site area and east of the former landfill; however, later sampling has shown that the contamination extends to the north and west.

Site Responsibility

The Forest Waste site is being addressed under a combination of federal, state, and potentially responsible party (PRP) actions.

Threats and Contaminants

Wastes containing PCBs and PBBs are documented to have been disposed of in the landfill. Soils in the former lagoon area were contaminated with metals, PCBs, and VOCs. The groundwater was primarily contaminated with VOCs.

A health threat existed due to the potential for contact with contaminants and wastes by trespassers, including children. This health threat was eliminated by construction of a fence in 1984, complete removal of the lagoon contamination in 1989, and construction of a cap over the landfill in 1997. A health threat would exist if the landfill or site ground water were developed in the future. This health threat is being controlled by restrictions on usage of the site.

Vinyl chloride and 1,4-dioxane are the main compounds of concern in site groundwater.   There is concern about exposure to nearby residential well users from groundwater contamination. Although such exposure is unlikely, this concern is being addressed by groundwater monitoring. A health threat or interference with the groundwater treatment and monitoring could result from new groundwater pumping near the site. This health threat is being addressed through groundwater treatment, monitoring, and restrictions on installation of new pumping wells under Genesee County health regulations.   

Cleanup Progress

U.S. EPA installed a fence around the site to limit access in August 1984.  Between 1985 and 1988, U.S. EPA sampled wastes, groundwater, and soil, and evaluated cleanup methods. The PRPs completely removed contamination from the lagoons in 1988. About 9,000 tons of solidified waste and soil and almost 57,000 gallons of liquid wastes were disposed of off-site. In 1990, U.S. EPA dug 500 barrels of waste from the landfill. In 1992, private parties disposed of these barrels off-site. In 1993, the PRPs removed about 3,000 barrels of waste and almost 2,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil from the landfill and disposed of them off-site. 

A group of PRPs entered into an agreement with U.S. EPA in 1994 to complete the remaining cleanup work. Between 1990 and 1992, U.S. EPA annually sampled groundwater east of the landfill to assure that contamination was not moving off-site. The annual sampling was later taken over by the PRPs beginning in 1993. This sampling continues today. To date, no significant groundwater contamination has moved off-site from east of the landfill.  The PRPs also constructed a cap over the landfill in 1997.

VOC contamination was first detected north of the landfill in December 1995. Between 1996 and 2007, the PRPs conducted a series of sampling events to locate the extent of contamination from north of the landfill. In 1997, they purchased an 80-acre property north of the landfill. It was found that most of the contamination from north of the landfill underlies this 80-acre parcel. In 2000, vinyl chloride was detected in groundwater near the boundary of the 80-acre parcel, and in 2002 it was confirmed that this contamination extends beyond the 80-acre parcel. Annual sampling of nearby residential wells was initiated in 2001 and the groundwater monitoring network was extended to the boundaries of the vinyl chloride groundwater contaminant plume.

The PRPs evaluated and tested groundwater treatment technologies to treat groundwater contamination north of the landfill from 2001 - 2004.  In September 2005, U.S. EPA determined that the cleanup of the contamination north of the landfill should include expanding the site to include the additional 80-acre parcel, applying the cleanup standards to the boundaries of the expanded site and then using natural dilution and biodegradation to help achieve the cleanup standards.  Also, treatment of deep and shallow groundwater contamination near and beyond the expanded site boundaries by injecting oxidants, treatment of shallow groundwater near the landfill by injecting oxygen or by digging a trench through the shallow groundwater and injecting air to remove the contamination, and restricting installation of new drinking water wells near the site using Genesee County health regulations. From 2005 - 2006, U.S. EPA worked with the PRPs and Genesee County to better define the groundwater pumping restriction areas and construction requirements for new wells in these areas. 

From 2007 - 2010, the PRPs tested and performed injections of an oxidizing chemical near the boundaries of the vinyl chloride plume in accordance with approved plans. In November 2007, U.S. EPA determined that groundwater treatment near the landfill was not required because VOC concentrations had decreased near the landfill and were at very low concentrations a short distance farther from the landfill.  In 2011, the oxidant injections near the contaminant boundaries had not resulted in successful treatment, and the vinyl chloride contamination had expanded in the shallow aquifer. Oxidant injection by recirculation (mixing) was tested during the summer of 2011 with inconsistent results.  Due to failure to control the vinyl chloride contamination, as well as the detection of 1,4-dioxane in the groundwater for the first time, the PRPs discontinued the oxidant injections in 2011.  A groundwater investigation is currently underway to better define the extent of the 1,4-dioxane contamination and to help choose a new cleanup approach for this compound.

U.S. EPA completed five-year reviews at the Forest Waste site in 1997, 2002, 2007, and 2012. The 2012 five-year review report identified the need for the investigation of the nature and extent of the 1,4-dioxane contamination so that a new treatment technology could be selected.  This is being addressed by the current on-going investigation to characterize the presence of 1,4-dioxane at the site.

Success Story

The PRPs have been very cooperative with U.S. EPA and the state of Michigan in conducting the investigations and cleanup actions. Genesee County was very cooperative in working with U.S. EPA to establish well-usage restrictions in the pumping restriction areas. 

Community Involvement

In March 2001, U.S. EPA prepared and distributed a fact sheet to update interested parties on progress and conditions at the site after VOCs were detected near the expanded site boundaires. In June 2005, U.S. EPA prepared and distributed a fact sheet to provide an update on site conditions and present cleanup methods being considered. U.S. EPA conducted a public comment period from July 10, 2005 to August 9, 2005, and a public meeting on July 20, 2005. Nearly 200 people attended. U.S. EPA distributed another fact sheet and conducted a public meeting in August 2007 to update residents on the pumping restriction area, the final design of the chemical injection systems, and other data.   

Property Reuse

The entire Forest Waste site property is under the control of Forest Township. The site is fenced and there is a separate fence around the landfill. Deed notices on the site property prohibit the following:

Forest Township controls usage of the site outside of the landfilled area through a permit system. To date, permits have been issued for model airplane flying, archery, and paintball. In September 2005, U.S. EPA confirmed that it is safe to use the site areas outside of the landfill area for limited recreational activities, such as those permitted by Forest Township. 

The primary water supply for nearby residences is groundwater. Installation of new wells near the site is being restricted by Genesee County health regulations.      


Remedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA
leslie blake (blake.leslie@epa.gov)
(312) 353-7921

Community Involvement Coordinator, U.S. EPA
cheryl allen
(312) 353-6196




Site Profile Information

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


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