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Congressional District # 06


EPA ID# MID005107222
Last Updated: July, 2015

Site Description

The Bendix Superfund Site is located approximately four miles south of the city of St. Joseph at 3737 Red Arrow Highway in Berrien County, Michigan.  The contamination emanates from two source areas located within the boundaries of the former Bendix Automotive plant, now owned and operated by Bosch Braking Systems.  During the plant’s history, the chlorinated solvents tetrachloroethylene (PCE) and trichloroethylene (TCE) were discharged to unlined lagoons, allowing the contaminants to infiltrate vertically and migrate laterally from the source areas.  These source areas are approximately one-half mile east of the Lake Michigan shore and one-quarter mile west of Hickory Creek. 

The topography at the site is generally flat and covered by buildings and pavement, but to the west the land surface slopes toward Lake Michigan, and to the east it slopes toward Hickory Creek, creating a hydrogeological divide.  This divide causes the groundwater from the source areas to flow either west to Lake Michigan or east to Hickory Creek.  The surface geology and water table aquifer are composed of permeable, course-grained, glacial deposits that allow rapid infiltration and groundwater flow.

There are some 750 homes within three miles of the site, but all residences within the affected area receive water from the city of St. Joseph’s municipal water system.  

Site Responsibility

This site is being addressed through federal, state and Potentially Responsible Party (PRP) actions.

Threats and Contaminants

Groundwater is contaminated with various volatile organic compounds (VOCs). People may be at risk if they consume or come into direct contact with contaminated groundwater; however, groundwater is not currently used as a source of drinking water.

Cleanup Progress

The Robert Bosch Corporation acquired the contaminated Bendix Site from Allied Chemical/Allied Signal Inc. in 1996. Remedial investigations conducted by Bosch in 1997 defined the areas affected by VOCs and determined the sources and flow paths of the eastern and western plumes. EPA published its Record of Decision (ROD) September 30, 1997, and Bosch signed a Consent Decree (CD) agreeing to clean up the site in 1999.

The remedy selected for the Bendix Site required institutional controls and restrictive covenants on properties over contaminated groundwater, soil vapor extraction and treatment for the inferred source of the eastern plume, and monitored natural attenuation with protective contingencies for the entire site. An Explanation of Significant Differences was signed on February 19, 2009, which required the construction of a groundwater extraction and treatment system to reduce contaminant loading from the source of the western plume.

The most recent Five-Year Review (FYR) was conducted in 2014. The FYR report concluded that the remedy currently protects human health and the environment in the short term. Contact with contaminated soil is prevented by asphalt pavement; the Soil Vapor Extraction (SVE) system controls the source of the eastern plume; the groundwater extraction and treatment system controls the source of the western plume; and natural attenuation continues to reduce contaminant concentrations throughout the affected areas. Institutional Controls are in place to restrict the use of contaminated groundwater, protect remedy implementation, and prevent disturbance of the source areas; and a long-term monitoring program functions to ensure that threats to human health and the environment remain below regulatory thresholds.

The following measures are necessary to ensure protectiveness in the long term: (1) continued reduction in contaminant loading from the source of the western plume, (2) regular evaluation of the existing ICs to ensure long-term stewardship, (3) additional contingent remedial actions if compliance criteria are exceeded, and (4) effectively monitoring the site until remedial standards are achieved.


Remedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA
william ryan (ryan.williamj@epa.gov)
(312) 353-4374

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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