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Congressional District # 04


EPA ID# WIN000510222
Last Updated: August, 2012

Site Description

The Burnham Canal Site (the Site) is a Superfund Alternative Site (SAS).  The Burnham Canal used to be a federally authorized navigation channel; it had been dredged and maintained by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).  As of 1987, the Canal is no longer being dredged.

The Site is located in an industrial area, in the southern portion of the Menomonee River Valley of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Miller Compressing is a scrap metal processing and recycling facility located adjacent to the Burnham Canal.  Operations were performed on the Site from the late 70’s through the mid 80’s.  The copper wire reclamation and recycling operations, which caused the release of metals and PAHs to the canal,  have either ceased or have been moved away from the canal to other portions of Miller Compressing's property.  Current Miller operations in the areas adjacent to and north of the canal are for trailer and container storage.

Site Responsibility

This site is being addressed through responsible parties' actions with federal oversight.

Threats and Contaminants

The target contaminants include six heavy metals (cadmium, copper, lead, nickel, silver and zinc) and Polynuclear Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs).  The pathways of concern include surface water, sediment, and soil.  The potential receptors include benthic organisms, outdoor workers, construction workers and trespassers.  The exposure routes are dermal contact and ingestion.

There is a fish consumption advisory regarding eating fish caught from the canal. The fish consumtion advisory guidelines, provided by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, can be found at : http://dnr.wi.gov/fish/consumption/

Cleanup Progress

Prior to getting involved with EPA's Superfund program, Miller Compressing  conducted  their own investigations of the Burnham Canal including its western terminus.  In July of 2008, Miller Compressing signed an agreement with with EPA to conduct a Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study for the Site. The RI/FS is now complete.  A proposed plan will be presented to the public on June 28, 2011.  The cleanup  was selected in a Record of Decision (ROD) on September 2, 2011.  The remedial action consists of the following components:

• In the paved area, rely on and monitor the existing pavement to minimize infiltration and prevent direct contact to the contaminated soil beneath.
• Excavate and dispose off-site soil down to the water table in the unpaved area. The area will be backfilled with clean soil, vegetation, and rip-rap. In the area around soil boring (SB) 1 only the top 12 inches will be excavated because contaminants of concerns (COC) do not exceed screening levels beyond that depth.
• Dredge and dispose off-site approximately 200 cubic yards of highly contaminated sediment at the west end of the Canal.
• Place a 12-inch sand cover over the contaminated sediments in the Canal to the 11th Street Bridge. Armor the areas near the combined sewer outfalls with geotextile and rip-rap to minimize erosion and cover disturbance.
• Implement Institutional Controls (ICs), including zoning restrictions, deed restrictions, and the use of fences and signs to preserve the integrity of the remedy.

EPA is currently overseeing the the PRP performing the Remedial Design of the selected remedy.

Community Involvement

The U.S. EPA  conducted  interviews with community members and local stakeholders in order to prepare a Community Involvement Plan (CIP), which documents U.S. EPA's strategies for effectively communicating with the community. CIP is final and is available at an information respository near the site.

Property Reuse

The property is currently owned and operated by Miller Compressing. The area north of the canal is paved;  the area is  used for truck parking and is the site of the Miller Compressing's water treatment plant.

Reuse of the canal has yet to be determined.  

The May 2010 Community Involvement Plan outlines a few ideas the community has about reuse of the area.  Many of the community members interviewed would like to see the site redeveloped for recreational use like green space, a bike trail and  a walking area, water sports and a better fish habitat for fishing. The community would also like to see industrial development stay in line with the current use. Industrial development in the area of the site would help bring jobs to the community.



Remedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA
leah evison (evison.leah@epa.gov)
(312) 886-2064



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