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Congressional District # 06


EPA ID# MID980703011
Last Updated: April, 2015

Site Description

The Sturgis Municipal Wells site is located in the City of Sturgis, St. Joseph County, Michigan. Routine sampling by the Michigan Department of Public Health (MDPH) in 1982 revealed that two of the four municipal water supply wells serving the City of Sturgis were contaminated with trichloroethylene (TCE) and tetrachloroethylene (also called perchloroethylene or PCE). In 1983, the city asked approximately 10,000 residents in its service area to limit their water usage. In 1984, the city began utilizing a new well, the Oaklawn, bringing the total to three usable wells (the Broadus, Lakeview and Oaklawn) and two contaminated wells (the Layne and Jackson). In 1985, the Broadus well was found to be contaminated. In 1989, the MDPH advised the city not to rely on the Layne, Jackson, and Broadus wells. The city is now relying on the Thurston Woods well, installed in 1989, along with the Oaklawn and Lakeview wells, to serve their needs.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed the site to the National Priorities List (NPL) in September 1983 and finalized the site on the NPL in September 1984.

Site Responsibility

The site is being addressed by the potentially responsible party (PRP) with oversight of the State.

Threats and Contaminants

The groundwater is contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including TCE and PCE. TCE, PCE, and other VOCs also have been detected in the soil. Direct contact with or accidental ingestion of the contaminated groundwater and soil poses a potential health threat.

Cleanup Progress

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources conducted a federally-financed Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study from 1987 through early 1991. In September 1991, EPA signed a Record of Decision (ROD) outlining the selected remedial action for the site. The selected remedy included extraction and treatment of the contaminated groundwater, treatment of contaminated onsite soils via soil vapor extraction (SVE), and excavation of the remaining contaminated soils that could not be treated by SVE.

In October 1992, EPA issued a Unilateral Administrative Order to the PRP, Cooper Industries, for a groundwater extraction and treatment system to halt the further migration of contaminants in the groundwater aquifers. Cooper Industries completed the design and began construction of the groundwater pump and treat system in late summer/early fall 1993. Construction was completed in May 1994 and the system was expected to operate for at least 20 years.

During much of 1996, the State negotiated with Cooper Industries for their takeover of all activities at the site under the direction of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ). The parties reached agreement in late summer, and a Consent Decree was entered in federal court on October 25, 1996. Also during 1996, EPA issued a ROD Amendment which altered the 1991 remedy for the site by changing groundwater and soil cleanup standards to comply with current state law, eliminating one of the source areas from requiring SVE, and eliminating all soil excavation. Construction of the SVE system was completed and the system became operational, and a final inspection was then completed on April 22, 1997. During 1998, the PRP conducted an investigation to determine whether TCE vapors had migrated off the property and whether the pump and treat system was removing the entire groundwater contaminant plume.

The First Five-Year Review Report for the site, prepared by MDEQ and signed by EPA, was completed in October 1999. In general, the report concluded that the remedy remained protective of human health and the environment. However, based on the 1998 studies by the PRP, the state recommended the installation of another extraction well and treatment system to augment the pump and treatment system installed in 1994. The new system was subsequently installed and is operational. In addition, the report recommended the continued operation of the current pump and treat and SVE systems.

MDEQ and EPA signed the Second Five-Year Review Report for the site on June 30, 2005. In general, the report concluded that the remedy remained protective of human health and the environment.

The Third Five-Year Review Report for the site was completed on June 28, 2010, and concluded that the remedy remains protective of human health and the environment in the short term because actions to date prevent current exposures. In the long term, the site and its remedies are expected to be protective of human health and the environment upon attainment of groundwater cleanup goals, which is expected to require 20 to 30 years to achieve. In the interim, measures will be taken to prevent unacceptable exposures by providing local authorities with maps to better discern geographic locations for which the installation of residential drinking water wells should be restricted, and other actions identified as a result of an Institutional Controls (IC) evaluation to be conducted after completion of the five-year review. Long-term protectiveness requires compliance with effective ICs. Current ICs will be reviewed, along with conducting additional IC evaluation activities, to ensure that effective ICs are in-place and are maintained, monitored and enforced.

The site's fourth five-year review is due by June 28, 2015.


Remedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA
pablo valentin (valentin.pablo@epa.gov)
(312) 353-2886

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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