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Congressional District # 08


EPA ID# MID980702989
Last Updated: November, 2014

Site Description

The Motor Wheel Disposal Site (MWDS) is a 24-acre site, located on the northeast edge of Lansing, in Ingham County, Michigan. The site is bordered by abandoned Michigan Central Railroad tracks along the NW border, by the W.R. Grace & Co. plant to the south, and by the Lansing/Lansing Township boundary to the east.  The Granger/North Lansing Sanitary Landfill is located northeast of the site, Paulson Street Landfill (currently a park) is located to the north, the Friedland Iron and Metal Company lies to the northwest, and the Board of Water and Light North Lansing Fill No. 2 is located to the southwest.  The property was used by Motor Wheel Corporation as a disposal site for industrial waste from 1938 until about 1971.

The MWDS lies in level to gently rolling topography resulting from depositional processes associated with the continental glaciers that covered Michigan during the Pleistocene Epoch. Aquifers in the glacial deposits are fed by precipitation and serve an important role in recharging the deeper aquifers.  The glacial deposits in this area were laid down upon bedrock sediments of the Saginaw Formation.  The Saginaw Formation comprises a bedrock aquifer that has been extensively exploited in the region, and is the principal source of water for the City of Lansing.  The Saginaw Aquifer is recharged in places where it directly contacts the glacial aquifer.  The remedy selected for the site includes capping the waste disposal area to limit infiltration, extraction and treatment of contaminated groundwater, land-use restrictions, and monitoring to assess the status of the remedy.

The surrounding area is a mixture of residential and commercial property. Although there have been a number of zoning changes over the years, a similar mix of land uses will likely continue around the waste disposal area.  The 24 acre waste disposal area is currently fenced and the contaminated soils are contained under a semi-permeable cap. Groundwater contamination and the infrastructure for the groundwater extraction system for the remedy extend approximately 1.5 miles south of the waste disposal area. The groundwater extraction and treatment portion of the remedy comprises monitoring wells, extraction wells, and a groundwater collection and transfer system to deliver water to a treatment facility located within the waste disposal area.

Site Responsibility

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

Threats and Contaminants

Waste buried at the site includes solid and liquid industrial byproducts, paints, solvents, acids, caustics, sludge, and other materials.  Waste was disposed of in tanks, barrels, ponds, and open fill areas.  An estimated 210,000 cubic yards of waste material is buried in place at the site.  Hazardous substances have been identified in various media. Exposure to soil, groundwater, and sediment are considered significant human health risks due to exceedances of U.S. EPA’s risk management criteria for either the average or the reasonable maximum exposure scenarios.  Groundwater associated with the site is contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including toluene, trichloroethene, tetrachloroethene, vinyl chloride, and the BTEX compounds benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene.

Cleanup Progress

In 1970 the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) requested that the Motor Wheel Corporation remove all solid waste, paint sludge, and oil from seepage ponds for disposal off-site. Between 1970 and 1982, at least three cleanup actions to excavate contaminated waste were initiated. Excavated waste was disposed of off-site and the former pond areas were backfilled.

On June 26, 1987, Motor Wheel Corporation, W.R. Grace & Co., and Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company signed an Administrative Order on Consent (AOC), agreeing to conduct a Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study (RI/FS) at the Motor Wheel site. The RI/FS identified risk to human health and the environment associated with waste in the disposal area and an offsite plume of contaminated groundwater. A Record of Decision (ROD) was signed on September 30, 1991, and in 1994 a Consent Decree was signed by the potentially responsible parties (PRPs) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency, requiring the respondents to implement the remedy selected in the 1991 ROD.

Design of the cap portion of the remedy started in 1992 under an Administrative Order on Consent. The final design of the cap was completed in May 1997, and cap construction was completed in July 1999. After the cap was in place, one extraction well and the groundwater treatment system were installed in the waste disposal area, while the PRPs continued to add additional groundwater extraction wells and expand the system. Currently there are eight extraction wells installed in the glacial aquifer and five in the Saginaw Aquifer. Two additional extraction wells were installed in the glacial aquifer in early 2012 to address residual vinyl chloride that escaped extraction by up gradient wells. As of November 2014 over seven billion gallons of water have been extracted, treated, and discharged. Since system start-up, 861 pounds of vinyl chloride (92% of the estimated total mass) and 690,048 pounds of ammonia (77% of the estimated total mass) have been removed from the Glacial and Sagniaw aquifers by the groundwater extraction systems. Ongoing activities include the pumping and treatment of affected groundwater, quarterly monitoring, and cap maintenance.

The latest Five-Year Review (FYR) was completed in July 2012. The FYR report concluded that the remedy is currently protective of human health and the environment in the short-term. The landfill cover and access controls are functioning as designed, and have achieved the remedial objectives of minimizing the migration of contaminants to groundwater/surface water and preventing direct contact with contaminants. The extraction and treatment system continues to remove contaminants of concern, and there is currently no exposure to contaminated groundwater.

Long-term protectiveness of the remedy requires maintaining site restrictions and ensuring that the groundwater extraction and treatment system maintains hydraulic control of the plume as it removes contaminants from the affected aquifers. Groundwater monitoring will continue until the completion of the remedy can be demonstrated by the attainment of the remedial standards established in the ROD. The next FYR will be completed before July 11, 2017.


Remedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA
william ryan (ryan.williamj@epa.gov)
(312) 353-4374

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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