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Congressional District # 01


EPA ID# MID980608970
Last Updated: May, 2015

Site Description

The Cliffs-Dow Dump site is located in a wooded area off County Road 550 about one-half mile west of Dead River in the city of Marquette, Michigan. The two-acre site is currently owned by the city of Marquette and is zoned "deferred use". The area around the site is largely undeveloped. A small area to the east of the site and property to the north of the site are zoned industrial. The Royal Oak Charcoal Company disposed of hazardous substances, primarily volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from 1954 to the mid-1960s.

Site Responsibility

This Site was addressed through federal and potentially responsible parties' actions.

Threats and Contaminants

Offsite groundwater is contaminated with VOCs and phenols.  The surface soil in the landfill area contained elevated levels of VOCs, phenols, and PAHs.  Direct contact with or ingestion of contaminated soil or ground water (ingestion-only) could pose health risks. 

Cleanup Progress

Hazardous tar deposits were the primary source of contamination at the site.  In 1990, about 400 cubic yards of exposed and readily accessible tar was removed from the site by the potentially responsible parties and incinerated.  Treatability studies were not successful in showing a reduction in the toxicity of the remaining material in a reasonable time frame, and in the summer of 1995, the rest of the fill (28,000 tons) was excavated and sent to an offsite landfill.  The fill was replaced with clean borrow material and vegetated.  Three quarterly groundwater monitoring events indicate that contamination is minor.  Studies show that natural attenuation is occurring and will effectively remediate the groundwater. 

In  December 1997,  sampling results demonstrated that the remaining groundwater contamination did not pose an unacceptable risk to human health or the environment. The site was deleted from the National Priorities List on October 18, 2000.  Deed restrictions on the use of the site and groundwater have been removed. 

Property Reuse

The site is a county park used for recreational purposes.


Remedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA
thomas smith (smith.thomasl@epa.gov)
(312) 886-6540


Site Profile Information

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


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