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Congressional District # 03


EPA ID# MID062222997
Last Updated: September, 2014

Site Description

The Butterworth #2 Landfill site covers 120 acres in the hundred-year flood plain of the Grand River in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The city of Grand Rapids owned and operated the landfill as an open dump from 1950 to 1967. The site was operated as a sanitary landfill from 1967 to 1973 when the state closed it for improper operations. The landfill received municipal, solid, and industrial wastes. The industrial wastes included plating wastes, paint wastes, and organic solvents. Groundwater sampling in 1982 identified volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including benzene and vinyl chloride and heavy metals, iron, manganese, silver, and lead. Soils are contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), pesticides, pyrene, and chrysene and heavy metals, including chromium and cadmium. Approximately 1,300 people live within one mile of the site. The closest residence is about 200 yards away. 

Site Responsibility

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

Threats and Contaminants

Groundwater sampling in 1982 identified VOCs, including benzene and vinyl chloride and heavy metals, iron, manganese, silver, and lead. Soils are contaminated with PCBs, pesticides, pyrene, and chrysene and heavy metals, including chromium and cadmium. 

Cleanup Progress

A drum and soil removal was implemented in 1990 to eliminate a potential source of PCBs.  EPA signed a Record of Decision in September 1992.  The remedy consisted of an upgraded landfill cover ( 2 feet of clay and 2 feet of cover materials) and groundwater monitoring to comply with alternate concentration limits established in the ROD. The design was completed in February, 1998.  EPA signed an Explanation of Significant Differences in October, 1998, changing capping requirements in the Radio Tower and Station Building area to a 12-inch soil cover and also changing the ACLs for groundwater to State of Michigan groundwater-surface water interface standards.  Site remedy construction began in June, 1999 and is now complete.  EPA completed a Preliminary Closeout report in September 2000, finding that the site remedy construction was complete.  Groundwater monitoring will continue for a minimum of 30 years.

The Agency completed five year reviews in September 2004, 2009, and  2014.  They all concluded that the site remedy was performing as designed.  EPA concluded that exceedances of the performance standard for ammonia highlighted by groundwater monitoring were not posing unacceptable risks to human health and the environment.  However, the review recommended additional monitoring in the Grand River to validate EPA's conclusion regarding risk.  The 2014 review also concluded that a vapor intrusion study should be performed at the site.

EPA continues to work with the City of Grand Rapids to investigate the feasibility of solar redevelopment at the site.

Success Story

The site was the location for EPA's national "Ready for Reuse" redevelopment strategy in November 2004.  EPA's national Superfund director, Mike Cook, attended the event and announced the strategy along with the Mayor of Grand Rapids.  The site has successfully embraced long term reuse and plans for doing so are well underway.

Community Involvement

The local community is actively involved in the development of the site reuse strategy and community meetings are well attended.  Local input is being requested through the City and the Parks Department and will be reflected in any final plans for site development.

Property Reuse

EPA has worked with the City of Grand Rapids to develop a site resuse conceptual plan for future site redevelopment. This is currently ongoing and the City is working with a number of local entities to finalize a site reuse framework. EPA approved a plan to extend a local bike trail through the site using the existing site access road and constructing a small extension to this road in the southwest corner of the site. This project was completed in the fall of 2009. EPA has also granted access in the past to the City to use the site access road for a local marathon running race.


Remedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA
dion novak (novak.dion@epa.gov)
(312) 886-4737

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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