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Congressional District # 03


EPA ID# MID079300125
Last Updated: June, 2015

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 the plant. 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 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (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 properties near the site. According to the 2010 census, the site is located in Census Tract 134, which had a population of 5,384.

Site Responsibility

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) is the lead agency responsible for the site, with support from 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 includes a lake used for recreational activities, is located downstream of the site. Residents of the City of Wyoming are connected to a public water supply system providing Lake Michigan water.

Cleanup Progress

In 1988, the owner of Spartan installed a groundwater purge and treatment system pursuant to a consent order with the State of Michigan. 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 MDEQ and EPA issued a Record of Decision (ROD) for the soil contamination 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 EPA are evaluating the system as a part of the design for the final cleanup of the site.

MDEQ and EPA issued a final ROD addressing both soil and groundwater contamination 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 of off-site. The remaining contaminated soils and groundwater will be treated in-situ. 

MDEQ completed the remedial design in April 2015. Some aspects of the remedial action were started in September 2014.

EPA completed a five-year review for the site on September 28, 2012. The five-year review deferred making a protectiveness determination at the site because additional data needs to be obtained. The five-year review stated that there are no current human exposures to contaminated soils or groundwater, but it was not yet known if vapor intrusion was occurring at nearby businesses and residences. MDEQ and EPA conducted vapor intrusion sampling in 2012 and 2014. Vapor sampling results showed that there was no human health risk. MDEQ will conduct additional vapor sampling upon completion of other remedial actions at the site and confirm that vapor intrustion does not present a human health risk.

Community Involvement

In the summer of 2007, a proposed plan was issued for public comment. A public meeting was held in late July 2007. During the public comment period, only one comment was received.  That comment communicated support for the proposed response action.

Property Reuse

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


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

Community Involvement Coordinator, U.S. EPA
susan pastor
(312) 353-1325




Site Profile Information

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


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