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Congressional District # 06


EPA ID# MID005340088
Last Updated: May, 2015

Site Description

The Roto-Finish site is a 7-acre site located in Portage, Kalamazoo County, Michigan. Roto-Finish manufactured equipment to debur and polish metal and plastic castings, mechanical parts and other objects at the site from 1950 until 1988. Prior to 1980, Roto-Finish discharged wastewater from the manufacturing processes to drywells and three lagoons. In 1979, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) sampled two of the lagoons and detected amines, phenols, metals, and 4,4-methylenebis (2- chloroaniline). In 1980, Roto-Finish closed the lagoons and dry wells and rerouted all waste discharges to the municipal sewer system.  Groundwater contamination extends from Roto-Finish to about one-half mile northwest-west of the site. Approximately 45,000 to 50,000 people live within three miles of the site. The aquifer provides drinking water to an estimated 100,000 residents. Municipal water supply wells and private wells may still exist within one mile of the site.

Site Responsibility

This site is being addressed through federal, state and potentially responsible parties' actions.

Threats and Contaminants

The groundwater is contaminated with volatile organic compounds, including trichloroethylene, vinyl chloride, 1,1-dichloroethene, and 1,1,1-trichloroethane. Potential health risks to people include ingestion of and direct contact with contaminated groundwater.

Cleanup Progress

From 1979 to 1983, Roto-Finish excavated the lagoons and stained soils and disposed of them in an offsite landfill under the oversight of the MDNR.  Roto-Finish backfilled the excavated areas with clean material; no significant remaining sources of soil contamination have been detected. In 1987, Roto-Finish conducted a remedial investigation and feasability study(RI/FS) to determine the nature and extent of the contamination at the site and evaluate various cleanup alternatives at the site. In 1988, the manufacturing operations at the site were closed and the property was acquired by Illinois Tool Works (ITW). ITW continued the RI/FS, and in 1994, ITW agreed to conduct an evaluation and analysis of the groundwater and an interim cleanup action. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) approved ITW's proposal of a groundwater extraction system as an interim cleanup action in September 1994 and issued a Unilateral Administrative Order to ITW to construct the system in January 1995. ITW constructed the extraction system in June 1995. Between 1995 and 2001, an estimated 125 million gallons of contaminated groundwater were pumped from the site and treated at the Kalamazoo wastewater treatment plant. ITW completed the RI/FS in September 1996, and U.S. EPA selected a remedy for the site in March 1997. 

U.S. EPA's selected remedy is institutional controls and monitoring the groundwater over the next 50 to 60 years while the contamination dilutes and biodegrades through a process known as natural attenuation.

In March 1998, ITW entered into a Consent Decree with U.S. EPA to develop and implement the long-term natural attenuation monitoring plan. The cleanup design was finalized 2001. In 2002, U.S. EPA performed the first five-year review report to determine whether the remedy remained protective of human health and the environment. The report identified that the 2001 and 2002 sampling results indicated contaminant movement farther to the west and deeper than previously detected. The report determined that the extent of groundwater contamination was still unknown and rate of natural attenuation needed to be evaluated along the core of the groundwater plume. Since 2004, VAS work was completed in 11 locations and 13 monitoring wells have been installed, six wells are located along the core of the groundwater plume. All newly installed wells are currently being sampled on a quarterly basis to determine rates at which the contaminantion will degrade. In September 2007, U.S. EPA approved the final Remedial Design and Performance Monitoring Plan for Remedial Action at the Roto-Finish Site.

The U.S. EPA has completed three Five-Year Reviews of the remedies selected for the Roto-Finish Site. These reviews determined that the selected remedies remained protective of human health and the environment. The next five-year review for the site is due in 2016.


Remedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA
nanjunda gowda (gowda.nanjunda@epa.gov)
(312) 353-9236

Community Involvement Coordinator, U.S. EPA
janet pope
(312) 353-0628




Site Profile Information

This profile provides you with information on EPA's cleanup progress at this Superfund site.


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