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Congressional District # 07


EPA ID# MID005339676
Last Updated: November, 2014

Site Description

The McGraw-Edison Corporation site, located in Calhoun County, Michigan, covers an area of approximately 24 acres. The company manufactured air conditioners, humidifiers, and similar equipment from 1958 until 1980. From 1970 to 1980, about 15,000 gallons of "still-bottoms" (an oil waste) contaminated with trichloroethylene (TCE) were spread on the site's dirt roads to control dust. TCE was found in two onsite water supply wells and 45 nearby residential wells in 1980. Nearby Albion municipal wells also showed TCE contamination in the past. The municipal water supply has been extended to all affected residents; however, several residents refused hookup. 

Approximately 11,000 people live within three miles of the site. The Kalamazoo River is located one-half mile from the site and is used for recreational activities.

Site Responsibility

This site is being addressed through state, and potentially responsible party (PRP) actions. 

Threats and Contaminants

The groundwater, stream sediments, surface water, and soils are contaminated with TCE. People may be exposed to site-related contaminants if they inhale airborne materials or ingest or come into direct contact with polluted groundwater, surface water, soils, or stream sediments. Preliminary sample results indicate that further evaluation is needed regarding a potential indoor air concern that may exist at the site. Air quality controls have been established to eliminate the potential for air contamination. Groundwater is still contaminated with TCE, but a purge system is controlling the majority of the contamination.

Cleanup Progress

A Consent Decree (CD) between the State of Michigan and McGraw-Edison Corporation was entered with the Calhoun County Circuit Court on June 11, 1984. Subsequently, this site and the rest of McGraw-Edison was purchased by Cooper Industries of Houston, Texas. A hydrogeologic study of the site was completed by McGraw-Edison. Since the Consent Agreement was signed, 18,980 cubic yards of contaminated soil were removed from the site and disposed of in an approved offsite facility. Many nearby residences were connected to the municipal water system, and a groundwater treatment system was constructed. The groundwater treatment system went into operation in July 1990. In addition, the remaining contaminated soil was treated by "soil flushing," a process in which water is used to wash contaminants from the soil into the groundwater. The groundwater was then extracted and treated to remove the contaminants. Operation of the soil flushing system began in May 1992 and was terminated in October 1997. On September 10, 1991, both Cooper Industries and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality performed the pre-final inspection for the site. 

Approximately 35 low volume extraction wells were installed to prevent contamination within the shallow aquifer from migrating outside the current extent. Groundwater was extracted and then pumped through a tray air stripper system to remove the primary volatile organic compound contamination before discharging it to a storm sewer system under authority of an National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. To address contamination in the deeper bedrock aquifer, a former fire well was originally converted into an extraction well in order to prevent further migration of contamination in this area. This well extracted groundwater at a rate of 2,000 gallons per minute with the effluent being directed to an air stripper and final discharge to the storm sewer under the NPDES permit. Because of concerns that they fire well was pulling contamination deeper into the aquifer rather than allowing the shallow wells to address it, the fire well was turned off temporarily in April 2008 to evaluate the impact to the shallow and deep aquifers. The air stripper system sustained severe ice damage with the reduced flow volume and extremely cold temperatures in December of 2008. A horizontal tray stripper was brought online in February 2009, and has been effectively treating the pumped water since that time. The water is still discharged under the NPDES permit and the fire well has not been restarted.

Overall, the groundwater extraction system and horizontal tray strippers have continued to work effectively at reducing concentrations in shallow aquifer at the site. Although fluctuations in the concentrations of TCE in the groundwater have occurred, these fluctuations can be attributed to seasonal variations. Semi-annual monitoring has been agreed to as a reduction from the tri-annual sampling previously required, and will continue as part of the operation and maintenance segment of site remediation.

As of October 12, 1997, all Remedial Action (RA) activities were completed at this site. Under the terms of the CD, the PRP is responsible for all operation and maintenance activities and reporting for the site. A Superfund Preliminary Site Close Out Report was signed on January 28, 1998. The first five-year review was completed on October 29, 1999. The second Five-Year Review was completed on October 27, 2004. At that time, it was determined that the remedies were functioning as intended by the CD. There have been no changes in the toxicity factors for the contaminants of concern that were used in the baseline risk assessment, and there have been no changes to the standardized risk assessment methodology that could affect the protectiveness of the remedies. EPA is not conducting further five-year reviews at this site because EPA did not select the remedy for the site; the remedy was selected in a Consent Decree between the State and the PRPs, and EPA was not a signatory to the Consent Decree. MDEQ staff is currently evaluating unresolved issues from previous five-year reviews and continues to work in cooperation with the EPA and the PRPs to remove the contaminants from the environment.

Sub-slab soil gas samples were collected on June 9-14, 2014 at 21 locations, in accordance with the February 22, 2013 Vapor Intrusion Work Plan approved on April 29, 2014. The purpose of the 2014 vapor intrusion sampling was to define any geographic areas of concern, but not necessarily to assess risk. Results of the 2014 sub-slab soil gas concentrations were below the acute exposure immediate response activity screening levels for TCE and perchloroethylene (PCE).

Property Reuse

In 2012, the site was purchased by Gene Sorgi and is partially being reuse for warehousing and assemblying of satellite dish components under the name Challenger Communications.


Remedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA
Karen Mason-Smith (mason-smith.karen@epa.gov)
(312) 886-6150

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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