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Buffum MKE Site

Site Information
  • Milwaukee, WI (Milwaukee County)
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

Environmental and Disease Control Specialist Milwaukee Health Department (MHD)
Lindor Schmidt

Wisconsin Department of Health Services (WDHS)
Ryan Wozniak - Toxicologist

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR)
Mark Drews - Hydrogeologist

City of Milwaukee
Karen Dettmer

RACM Senior Environmental
Project Engineer


(where to view written records)

WDNR Service Center
2300 N. Dr. Martin Luther King Drive.

Contact OSC Kathy Halbur to view the file.


The Buffum MKE site, 3456 N. Buffum St, is a half-acre lot in a mixed residential/ commercial/industrial area of Milwaukee.  The Beerline Trail, a 4,000-foot-long recreational trail, is located to the south and west. An abandoned 100-year-old, three-story building with a long history of industrial uses is located on the property. 

Over the years, the building housed a furniture (billiard table) factory, yeast manufacturer, feed and fertilizer supplier, animal research laboratory, chemical processor, soap manufacturer, industrial wheel manufacturer, plastics manufacturer, fiberglass fabricator, reclaimer and processor of scrap and electronic metals, and woodworking shop. The building has been vacant since 2008 and has fallen into disrepair.

Today, there are numerous abandoned containers of hazardous waste and many piles of hazardous ash in the building. A portion of the roof has collapsed causing stormwater leakage which has mixed with the waste.  Pollutants have been discharged to the sump and possibly sewer. There is also evidence of regular trespassing and illegal dumping.

Contaminants of concern include lead, mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), chlorinated solvents, waste oil, flammable and corrosive materials, and asbestos.

The city of Milwaukee secured the building and posted warning notices. EPA did a site “assessment” after the city requested assistance in fall 2013. Based on the results of that assessment, EPA agreed that a cleanup was warranted.

Site Updates | Latest Update | Fact Sheets | POLREPs || Technical Documents || Photos

You will need the free Adobe Reader to view some of the files on this page. See EPA's PDF page to learn more.

Site Updates

June 2014

EPA will begin removing waste inside the abandoned building this month. The cleanup should take about two months to complete.  EPA and its contractors will be on-site 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., weekdays.  Security will be present during non-working hours. Residents can expect increased truck traffic on Keefe Avenue, Holton and Buffum Streets as well as the alleys that surround the property. Access to the nearby Beerline Trail may be restricted at times.

The known health risks are contained inside the building, however, EPA will continuously monitor the air to make sure neighboring homes aren’t affected by harmful dust.

EPA is working with the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee, Milwaukee Health Department, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

Fact Sheets

Pollution / Situation Reports (POLREPS)

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Technical Documents



Main building entrance (west side) secured off of Buffum Street


Operations entrance; EPA equipment staging area


Work crews collecting, staging, and categorizing all containerized liquid wastes for proper removal & disposal.

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