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U.S. EPA REGION 5
LIVINGSTON COUNTY
HOWELL

Congressional District # 08

SHIAWASSEE RIVER

EPA ID# MID980794473
Last Updated: May, 2015

Site Description

Since 1969, the Cast Forge Company (CFC), and now Western Wheel, have manufactured aluminum cast products in Howell, Michigan, at the CFC facility. Until 1973, wastewater contaminated by hydraulic fluids containing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) was discharged by the potentially responsible parties to the South Branch of the Shiawassee River. From 1973 to 1977, wastewater was discharged into a 400,000 gallon on-site lagoon. Discharges from this lagoon, as well as periodic overflows, contaminated nearby wetlands and the Shiawassee River. 

In 1978 and 1979, the State of Michigan detected high levels of PCBs in soils around the site and in on-site monitoring wells. Concentrations above one part per million (ppm) were found in Shiawassee River sediments fourteen miles downstream of the plant.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed the site for the National Priorities List (NPL) in December 1982 and finalized the site on the NPL in September 1983.

Site Responsibility

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

Threats and Contaminants

PCBs have been detected in fish, sediments, and soil. Wetland contamination has also been identified. The health threat of greatest concern is human consumption of PCB-contaminated fish. Other health threats include direct contact with contaminated river sediments and soils. 

Cleanup Progress

In November 1977, the State of Michigan filed suit against Cast Forge for PCB contamination of the environment. The case was settled through a consent judgment in June 1981. Under that settlement, the company removed the lagoon, cleaned up PCB-contaminated soil and sediment from its property, and provided $750,000 for restoration of the Shiawassee River. Dredging of the South Branch of the Shiawassee River began in June 1982. Only the first mile downstream from the plant was vacuumed, removing approximately 2,600 pounds of PCBs, before all funding was exhausted. Both the site property and river still contain PCBs.

The State began a Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study (RI/FS) in September 1986. Field sampling activities began in October 1987 and were completed in November 1989. 

The RI report was finalized in January 1992. The FS report, which evaluated various cleanup alternatives, was submitted in December 1997. EPA released a proposed cleanup plan to the public in August 1998. Because the data used to develop the cost estimates in the FS were obtained in 1986, more than 10 years before the FS report, it was determined that additional data should be collected to develop more accurate cost estimates for the site. 

Additional sampling of the site began in November 1999 and was completed in April 2000. The data from this sampling effort were released to the public in a data evaluation report in May 2000. The supplemental FS report was released in early 2001, and EPA issued a Record of Decision (ROD) for the site on September 28, 2001. The ROD selected a remedy for the floodplain and contaminated areas near the Cast Forge facility which would require remediation to less than 10 ppm PCBs. The ROD also required that the river be remediated to less than 5 ppm PCBs for the first mile downstream of the facility. Remediation of the floodplain and contaminated areas was completed in 2005, meeting all ROD requirements.  Recovery of the river sediments is ongoing.

In May 2010, a restrictive covenant was executed and recorded for the CFC facility. Current site use is consistent with the restrictive covenant and industrial zoning designation.

EPA issued the second Five-Year Review Report for the site on August 25, 2014, and the review is summarized below. 

The remedy at the site currently protects human health because exposure pathways that could result in unacceptable risks to humans are currently being controlled, but the remedy is not protective of the environment. The CFC facility portion of the Site is currently zoned for industrial use, a restrictive covenant has been implemented, and fish consumption advisories are in place. However, ecological receptors may still potentially be exposed to unacceptable risks posed by PCB contamination. In order for the remedy to be protective, comprehensive monitoring data is needed to show that PCB concentrations in sediments are decreasing as intended by the Record of Decision (ROD). Thus, a comprehensive long-term monitoring plan is being developed to further evaluate the natural recovery (MNR) remedy. Monitoring activities, described in the monitoring plan, will begin in 2015.

 

Contacts

Remedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA
james hahnenberg (hahnenberg.james@epa.gov)
(312) 353-4213

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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