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Congressional District # 02


EPA ID# MID980794747
Last Updated: February, 2015

Site Description

The 50-acre Packaging Corporation of America (PCA) site, located in Manistee County, Michigan, was a waste disposal area that contained eight lagoons. PCA operated a pulping mill to produce materials for corrugated boxes. Spent cooking liquor was discharged into the unlined lagoons. Wastes percolated from the lagoons, discoloring and contaminating the underlying aquifer. The contaminated plume discharges into Manistee Lake. The Manistee River connects the Lake with Lake Michigan, which is located three miles from the plume. The groundwater contains phenol and heavy metals. Under a May 1985 Consent Order with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA), PCA completed the Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study on June 1, 1992. 

Site Responsibility

This site is being addressed through federal and potentially responsible parties' actions.

Threats and Contaminants

Groundwater contains phenols and heavy metals, including chromium and lead. People in the area of the site could be exposed to hazardous contaminants through the groundwater. Manistee Lake is receiving and will continue to receive most of the contaminant plume from the PCA site. There is evidence that the dewatered lagoons and their surrounding areas are used for hunting, fishing, and by recreational vehicles. 

Cleanup Progress

A No Action Record of Decision (ROD) was signed on September 24, 1993. While the site does appear to exhibit elevated levels of heavy metals and some organic chemicals, calculations of current and potential risks indicate that the contamination does not pose an unacceptable risk to human health or the environment. About 95 percent of the plume was estimated to have been discharged to the lake when the ROD was written. An Administrative Order on Consent with U.S. EPA was issued on April 29, 1994, which requires PCA to continue groundwater monitoring and monitoring of Manistee Lake until cleanup goals are achieved. If the site is found to be causing unacceptable environmental risks then Remedial Actions will be required. Potentially responsible parties (PRPs) capped the lagoons under state supervision. Each summer, site PRPs conduct annual monitoring of the groundwater and the lake, and this will continue until the plume dissipates completely. As of 2015, annual reports have shown no increase and some slight decreases in concentrations for some contaminants. 

Community Involvement

U.S. EPA has been available for informal community forums. There have not been any problems or concerns communicated to U.S. EPA by the community for the past several years.


Remedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA
john fagiolo (fagiolo.john@epa.gov)
(312) 886-0800

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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