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Milwaukee Die Casting Site

Site Information
  • Milwaukee, WI (Milwaukee County)
  • EPA ID# N/A
  • Alias(es): N/A
Contact Information

Community Involvement Coordinator
Susan Pastor (pastor.susan@epa.gov)
312-353-1325 or 800-621-8431, ext. 31325

On Scene Coordinator
Kathy Halbur
(halbur.kathy@epa.gov)
920-662-5424

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Steve Mueller
(stephend.mueller@wisconsin.gov) 414-263-8631

Wisconsin Department of Health Services
Rob Thilboldeaux
(robert.thiboldeaux@wisconsin.gov) 608-267-6844

Redeveloment Authority of the City of Milwaukee
Karen Dettmer
(karen.dettmer@milwaukee.gov)
414-286-5642

Repositories

(where to view written records)

Milwaukee Public Library
814 W. Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee, WI

Background

The 3.7-acre Milwaukee Die Casting site, 4132 N. Holton St., Milwaukee, is comprised of a 70,000 square-foot-building that produced aluminum and zinc alloy parts for a variety of industries from 1952 to 1997. A fire retardant oil which contained polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), chlorinated solvents, and cyanide, was used in the die casting business and stored on the property.  Another chemical called trichloroethylene (TCE) was also used and stored in the “trimming room.”  A tunnel system, which provided access and utility lines to the die-casting machines, is located under the die-casting room floor. The tunnels are approximately 3-6 feet wide and up to 10 feet deep. Fluids collected in the tunnel system were discharged to an outdoor sump located near the northeastern wall of the building.  The tunnels are now filled with PCB-contaminated water which was discharging to the storm sewers.
From 1997 to 2009, some cleanup activities occurred, however, when the owner of the property passed away in 2009, the property was abandoned and fell into disrepair. The city of Milwaukee foreclosed and transferred ownership to the city’s Redevelopment Authority in March 2013.  EPA determined that a cleanup is warranted because the conditions are a threat to people and the environment.

Site Updates | Fact Sheets | Technical Documents | Legal Agreements


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Site Updates

January 2015

EPA is overseeing a cleanup of this property. Two companies, Pharmacia LLC and Fisher Controls International LLC, are doing the cleanup per a March 2013 legal agreement. PCBs, TCE, and asbestos are the main contaminants being removed.

EPA is working closely with the Milwaukee Redevelopment Authority, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Wisconsin Department of Health Services on the cleanup. Excavation and disposal of contaminated soil, is expected to begin in February. When the cleanup is completed, the property will be a grassy lot and available for “low occupancy reuse” such as a parking lot.

The building and the underground tunnels were removed in 2014.  Air quality was also monitored and steps were taken to reduce airborne dust on and off the site. The sidewalk along Milwaukee Die Casting is closed.  Pedestrians should use the sidewalk across Holton Street or use Richards Street, if possible, since there will be heavy truck traffic on Holton during the soil removal phase.    

In 2013, the property was secured, disconnected from the storm sewer and utilities, and extensively sampled so the companies and the regulatory agencies could better understand the extent of the contamination and develop work plans. The property and the building were prepped for the work that was completed in 2014.  This included identifying and removing asbestos and “universal waste” (exit signs, light ballasts, thermostats, etc.) that require special handling and disposal. Non-hazardous waste is being taken to a licensed landfill in Muskego, Wis. while hazardous waste is going to an EPA-approved landfill in Michigan or for incineration in Texas.  Taxpayer dollars are not being used to cover the cost of the cleanup, which is expected to exceed $10 million.

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