Velsicol Chemical Corp. (Michigan) Superfund Site
Community Involvement Coordinator
312-886-0725 or 800-621-8431, ext. 60725
Remedial Project Manager
Michigan Dept. of Environmental Quality
(where to view written records)
T.A. Cutler Memorial Library
312 Michigan Ave,
St. Louis, Mich.
The Velsicol Chemical Corp. (formerly the Michigan Chemical Corp.) produced various chemical compounds and products at its 54-acre main plant site in St. Louis, Mich., from 1936 until 1978. To address contamination discovered at the former plant site, a consent judgment was entered into by Velsicol, EPA and the State of Michigan in 1982. Velsicol agreed to construct a slurry wall around the former plant site and put a clay cap over it. The Pine River borders the former main plant site on three sides and was known to also be significantly contaminated. The river sediment pollution was addressed at that time by the State of Michigan, which issued a no-consumption advisory for all species of fish in the Pine River. The fish advisory remains in effect today.
From 1998 to 2006 a variety of actions were taken at the site to address contamination in the Pine River at a cost of almost $100 million. In 2006, studies showed that the slurry wall surrounding the former plant site and the clay cap installed over it were failing to keep contamination on the site and out of the river. EPA and Michigan's Department of Environmental Quality then launched a remedial investigation and feasibility study at the main plant site, designating it as Operable Unit 1 (OU1) and designating the Pine River sediments is as Operable Unit 2 (OU2). The report was released in 2006 and stated that soil and ground water at the site are contaminated with a variety of chemicals. In 2009, it was recommended that additional investigation be done to more fully define the nature and extent of contamination.
This additional investigation was completed and a Feasibility Study issued in 2011. Then, in June 2012, a Record of Decision was signed for Operable Unit 1, which includes both the cleanup of contaminated soil in the residential-areas and a comprehensive cleanup of the main plant site. This portion of the cleanup covers the residential area cleanup, and the main plant site cleanup.
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EPA and Michigan Department of Environmental Management are resuming cleanup and investigation activities to handle contamination from the former Velsicol Chemical Corp. Superfund site. Currently underway is the cleanup of the residential area next to the former Velsicol Chemical plant site, replacement of the St. Louis municipal drinking water supply and cleanup design work at the former chemical plant location.
EPA held an open house on May 28, 2014, to discuss the upcoming residential soil cleanup work and answer your questions.
In December 2012, EPA began the first phase of residential soil cleanup at 11 properties contaminated with the pesticide dichlorodiphenyl trichlorethane (DDT) and fire retardant polybrominated biphenyl (PBB). The DDT and PBB contamination is associated with the nearby Velsicol Plant. The Phase 1 cleanup was funded from money received as part of bankruptcy proceedings at the site. Residential soil cleanup is being initiated first because it will address site contamination closest to the area residents. Details of the cleanup activities are as follows:
- Phase 1 residential soil cleanup is expected to begin Dec. 17, 2012, and should be completed within 3-5 days.
- Approximately 250 tons of contaminated soil will be removed and covered with clean soil and erosion control matting. Excavated areas will be covered with sod in Spring 2013.
- Excavated soil will be taken off-site to an approved landfill.
- Residents should expect to see construction equipment and dump trucks in the neighborhood during this time.
- Safety procedures will be implemented to make sure the contamination does not spread to other residential areas and to protect worker safety.
- Public Comments on the Proposed Plan 2012 (92 pp, 3MB)
- EPA Proposes cleanup plan for soil and ground water (PDF) (6 pp, 1.4MB) February 2012 - Fact sheet about the proposed cleanup plan