The former General Motors manufacturing complex known as Buick City in Flint, Mich., is undergoing a long-term EPA cleanup. The 452-acre facility at 902 Leith St. is divided into the Northend and Southend divided by Leith street. The RACER (Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Response) Trust was created as part of the General Motors (GM) bankruptcy proceedings and RACER currently owns the site.
The Buick City complex played a major role in American automotive history with vehicles and parts manufactured there from the 1890s to 1999. Portions of the Site were originally developed in the late 1800s to produce the “horseless carriage.” In 1903, the Buick Motor Company was relocated from Detroit to the Site, In addition to the manufacturing of automobiles, in response to World War I, the Buick Motor Company began producing the Liberty Aircraft engine in 1918. Similarly, in response to World War II, the production of automobiles was stopped in 1942, and the Buick complex was converted for the production of military equipment. Site operations have included machining of ferrous and nonferrous metals, V-6 engine manufacturing, torque converter manufacturing, transmission components manufacturing, engine assembly, and industrial wastewater treatment. All of these processes were terminated at the end of 2010.
Buick City contains soil and ground water (underground water supplies) contaminated with various petroleum products, chemicals and metals. Some of the ground water under Buick City contains free-floating petroleum product called “light non-aqueous phase liquid” or LNAPL, which is particularly difficult to remove. A variety of contaminants have been identified at the Site, including 15 LNAPL areas some with Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) contamination. Soils on-site are contaminated with metals, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and Semi-Volatile Organic Compounds (SVOCs). Groundwater is contaminated with VOCs, SVOCs and dissolved metals. Surface water VOC impacts are also present from storm sewer outfalls. These contaminants are being addressed as part of the remedial implementation process for the Southend and remedial measures will be proposed to address the contaminants as part of the Northend Statement of Basis.