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Congressional District # 02


EPA ID# MID980701247
Last Updated: June, 2015

Site Description

The Wash King Laundry site (WKL) is approximately three miles from Baldwin, Michigan.  Area housing largely consists of seasonal/recreational usage, but more year-round housing and commercial development is being established.  WKL is in the Pere Marquette River basin, which is classified by Michigan as a "top quality trout stream." 

WKL began dry cleaning operations in 1962 and used the solvent perchloroethylene (PCE).  In the dry cleaning process, solvents and laundry waste were discharged into seepage lagoons.  Citizen complaints resulted in investigative activities during the 1970s and 1980s.  Groundwater contamination was subsequently found.  In 1983, the state negotiated a settlement with the site owner, requiring construction of a deeper well to provide water to nearby residents.  Citizens were given an opportunity to connect to this supply in 1984.  The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) entered into a Cooperative Agreement to study the site with MDNR assuming the lead role.  Contaminants detected included PCE, trichloroethylene (TCE), 1,1-dichloroethylene, boron, lead, arsenic, and pesticides.  The contaminated groundwater plume extends from the seepage lagoons to the Pere Marquette River. 

In 1991, the proprietor of WKL filed for bankruptcy.  The 1993 Record of Decision (ROD) recommended groundwater extraction with physical/chemical treatment and excavation/offsite disposal of contaminated lagoon sediments. 

Site Responsibility

This site is being addressed through federal and state actions.

Threats and Contaminants

Contaminants detected in the groundwater, included PCE, TCE, 1,1-dichloroethylene, boron, lead, arsenic, and pesticides.  The contaminated groundwater plume extends from the seepage lagoons to the Pere Marquette River. Lagoons, used for laundry discharge and minor amounts of sludge, contain PCE as well as lead and arsenic.  Drinking or direct contact with contaminated groundwater or direct contact with lagoon sediments may pose a health risk. 

Cleanup Progress

Predesign sampling showed a decline in volatile organic contamination in lagoon sediments. Therefore, it was no longer necessary to conduct the lagoon excavation remedial action described in the ROD.  This matter, plus other developments, were explained to the public in an Explanation of Significant Differences co-signed by EPA and the Michigan Environmental Quality (MDEQ) in July 1996. 

In September 1996, MDEQ completed the final design for groundwater remediation with EPA approval.  The MDEQ design simplified the treatment process and reduced the volume of groundwater to be treated.  This design incorporated a groundwater extraction rate of about two-thirds of that first envisioned to capture the plume, and eliminated the original requirements for ion exchange/metals precipitation treatment by reinjecting the treated groundwater rather than discharging it to surface water.

Funding for remedial action (RA) was received in fall 1998.  After the administrative funding commitment by EPA/MDEQ, a construction contract was initially awarded in spring 1999.  During 1999, about one-third of all construction was completed, including dismantlement of the old laundromat and construction of the treatment building foundation.  The treatment building includes activated carbon treatment for groundwater and soil vapor contaminated with volatile organic compounds.  Construction was completed in early 2001, with pump installation and electrical hookups at the groundwater extraction wells. 

After a pre-inspection tour with MDEQ and contractor representatives, EPA prepared a Preliminary Close Out Report in March 2001.  An open house tour of the treatment facilities was conducted by MDEQ and EPA in June 2001.  During 2002, EPA awarded a Long-Term Remedial Action (RA) grant to MDEQ for continued long-term groundwater treatment at the site.  The Agencies will continue to monitor aquifer and soil cleanup efforts. 

In early 2003, EPA received a copy of an operations and maintenance (O & M) adjustments/learning experiences report prepared by MDEQ contractors during 2001-2002 site operations.  Currently, EPA is working with MDEQ to optimize the O & M of the treatment system and track cleanup goals.

During 2006, EPA and MDEQ compiled site operating data and information, and performed a site inspection for preparation of a Five Year Review Report.  The Five Year Review report assesses operations, reports on progress towards remedial cleanup goals, and discusses site issues and recommendations.   The first Five Year Review Report was published in September 2006.   A second Five Year Review was published in September 2011.

In 2010, WKL was selected for an optimization evaluation which is designed to help optimize long-term groundwater pump and treat remedies.  A Streamlined Remediation System Evaluation Report was published in February 2011.   

In 2013, MDEQ evaluated the performance of the existing in-situ bioremediation system (periodic injections of microorganisms and enzymes into the ground) to treat PCE-contaminated soils in the upper portion of the glacial till zone (25-45 feet below ground surface (ft bgs).  The evaluation concluded that the system significantly reduced PCE concentrations in the upper portion of the glacial till zone, but had no effect on the lower portion of the glacial till zone (45 to 62 ft bgs).  MDEQ's report, "Performance Evaluation of an In-Situ Bioremediation System Targeting a Chlorinated Solvent Source Area in Low Permeability Glacial Till" was published in April 2013.

In 2014, MDEQ investigated the extent of PCE-contamination in the lower glacial till zone.  The highest concentrations of PCE detected in soil ranged from 50,000 ug/kg to 62,000 ug/kg.  A draft Remedial Investigation/Focused Feasibility Study Report was published in September 2014.  EPA and MDEQ are currently discussing this Report.



Remedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA
shari kolak (kolak.shari@epa.gov)
(312) 886-6151

Community Involvement Coordinator, U.S. EPA
teresa jones
(312) 886-0725

Site Profile Information

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


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