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U.S. EPA REGION 5
KENT COUNTY
WYOMING

Congressional District # 03

SPARTAN CHEMICAL CO.

EPA ID# MID079300125
Last Updated: January, 2012

Site Description

The Spartan Chemical Company (Spartan) is located on a five-acre parcel of land in an industrial park on 28th Street in the City of Wyoming, Kent County, Michigan.  Spartan was a bulk chemical transfer and repackaging plant from 1952 to 1991. Both aboveground and underground storage tanks were used to store chemicals at Spartan. During its operation, Spartan handled a variety of chemicals, including aromatic solvents, napthas, alcohols, ketones, ethers, chlorinated solvents, and lacquer thinners. Prior to 1963, the company discharged its wastewater into the ground.

In 1975, groundwater contamination was detected during dewatering operations at a Slagboom facility adjacent to the site. The groundwater was contaminated with various compounds including ethylbenzene, toluene, benzene, xylene, and 1,1,1-trichloroethane. At that time, Spartan was the only known handler of solvents in the area, so Spartan was thought to be the source.

In 1981, residential wells near the site were found to be contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These wells were abandoned, and the residences were connected to the municipal water supply.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) proposed the site for the National Priorities List (NPL) in December 1982 and finalized the site on the NPL in September 1983.

The area surrounding the site is heavily populated, with industrial, commercial, and residential property near the site. According to the 2000 Census, Spartan is in Census Tract 134 which had a population of 5,498.

Site Responsibility

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) is the lead agency responsible for the site, with support from U.S. EPA.

Threats and Contaminants

Groundwater and soils that are contaminated with VOCs are most likely due to chemical spillage and leaks from underground storage tanks. The soil and groundwater are contaminated with over 25 organic compounds, including ethylbenzene, toluene, benzene, xylene, and 1,1,1-trichloroethane. Currently, there are no immediate health threats associated with this site. However, soil contamination exists outside of the fenced property boundary, and groundwater contamination continues to migrate. A city-owned park, which has a lake used for recreational activities, is located downstream of the site. Residents of the city of Wyoming are connected to the public water supply system providing Lake Michigan water.

Cleanup Progress

In 1988, the owner of Spartan installed a groundwater purge and treat system pursuant to a consent order with the State. The treatment system consisted of a modified air stripper and an incinerator for treatment of the off-gases. The treated water was discharged to the city of Wyoming's Clean Water Plant. Shortly after Spartan filed for bankruptcy in 1992, the groundwater treatment system was shut down due to problems with the city's continued acceptance of treated groundwater.

While investigating other discharge options for the treated groundwater, the State also initiated additional remedial investigation (RI) activities to further define the extent of groundwater contamination. The majority of the investigation activities were completed during 2000 and 2001. The additional RI data indicated much higher concentrations of groundwater contamination outside the area of influence of the existing treatment system. This meant that the existing treatment system was not sufficient to effectively remediate the groundwater contamination and there was a need to evaluate additional remedial technologies, including surfactant enhanced aquifer remediation, natural attenuation, and air sparging. Groundwater monitoring continues to further assess the nature and extent of contamination and to evaluate natural attenuation as a potential remedy. 

The extent of soil contamination had been determined during earlier investigation work at the site, and a Record of Decision (ROD) for the soil contamination was signed in April 1998. The cleanup plan included soil treatment by installing vacuum pumps and pipes connected to wells in the ground to remove the contaminants from the soil in gas or vapor form. The State contractor completed the design in 1999 and the State awarded the construction contract to August Mack in 2000. The treatment system is operational, however, it can't operate in cold weather because it was built above ground without frost protection. MDEQ and U.S. EPA are evaluating the system as a part of the design for the final cleanup of the site.

A final ROD addressing both soil and groundwater contamination was issued on September 26, 2007.

The major components of the selected remedy in the final ROD include the following remedial activities:

1. Institutional controls restricting groundwater use and land use.

2. Excavation and off-site disposal of highly-contaminated soils.

3. Expansion of the soil vapor extraction (SVE) system for mitigation of vapors.

4. Air sparging/SVE.

5. In-situ chemical oxidation.

6. Contingency for enhanced in-situ bioremediation (if necessary).

7. Monitored natural attenuation.

The selected remedy is site-wide in scope and addresses all contaminated media (i.e., soil and groundwater) at the Site. A limited portion of the soils on the Site are believed to contain principal threat wastes because of the high concentrations of highly mobile solvents that are present. A principal threat waste is a source material that is highly toxic and/or mobile that generally can not be reliably contained and presents a significant risk to human health and the environment. Such soils that can’t be efficiently treated on-site will be excavated and disposed off-site. The remaining contaminated soils and groundwater will be treated in-situ. 

MDEQ anticipates completing the remedial design by June 2012 and, pending the availability of federal funding, will begin remedial actions soon thereafter.  Remedial actions for soils will likely take 4-5 years.

Community Involvement

A proposed plan was drafted and provided to the public to solicit their input. A public comment period for the proposed plan was held between July 9 and August 16, 2007. A public meeting was held on July 30, 2007. One comment was received indicating support for the proposed response action.

Property Reuse

Old buildings and tanks that were in poor condition were removed in 2006 under an agreement between the State and the current property owner, Kent County.

Contacts

Remedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA
james hahnenberg (hahnenberg.james@epa.gov)
(312) 353-4213

Community Involvement Coordinator, U.S. EPA
Don De Blasio
(312) 886-4360

Aliases

SPARTAN CHEM CO

 

Site Profile Information

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

 


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