Jump to main content.


Congressional District # 13


EPA ID# MID985574227
Last Updated: December, 2014

Site Description

The Lower Ecorse Creek site, originally called the North Drive site, is located in a residential area in Wyandotte, Michigan, on the south bank of the Ecorse River. The site is a former wetland that was filled in with waste material so that it could be developed. A city park is located on a portion of the site. In 1989, an area resident reported to the Wayne County Health Department (WCHD) that an excavation for a new driveway had exposed blue-stained soils. WCHD found high concentrations of cyanide in the soils and tentatively identified the blue material as ferric ferrocyanide (Prussian blue).  The blue material was also found to be seeping into the basement of the home and in several nearby lots adjacent to the site.

EPA listed the Lower Ecorse Creek site on the National Priorities List (NPL) on May 31, 1994.  The site was deleted from the NPL on July 1, 2005.

Site Responsibility

The Lower Ecorse Creek site was addressed through federal and state actions.

Threats and Contaminants

Soil at the Lower Ecorse Creek site was contaminated with cyanide, arsenic, and polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).  Potential health effects could occur due to dermal contact with the soil contaminants.

Groundwater is contaminated with similar compounds and potential health effects could occur if the water was used as a drinking water supply.  However, there is little chance for people to ingest the groundwater contaminants, as the aquifer is not otherwise usable for drinking in the area and all homes are connected to the municipal water supply.

Cleanup Progress

Current status

EPA completed cleanup actions at the Lower Ecorse Creek site in 2003 and later deleted the site from the NPL in July 2005.  However, EPA still conducts five-year reviews (FYRs) at the site because hazardous substances remain (covered) on site under a portion of the site currently used as the city park.  EPA completed the latest FYR in 2011, which evaluated the efficacy of the required institutional controls (ICs) for the site as well as the monitoring and maintenance work that the city of Wyandotte performs on the soil cover in the park. ICs are legal or administrative controls that are attached to properties to prevent interference with constructed cleanup remedies or to prevent use of residually contaminated media such as groundwater.  EPA requires the city to protect the integrity of the soil cover and to control the use of the park area to prevent potential exposure to buried contaminants.  The city has complied with the requirements to implement deed restrictions and maintain the soil cover in the park.


In November 1993, EPA conducted a time-critical removal action at a portion of the site.  EPA excavated cyanide-contaminated soil from four lots and disposed of it off site.  EPA also repaired the foundations of several residences that had deteriorated due to the acidic nature of the Prussian blue.

In March 1994, EPA began a Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study (RI/FS) at the four-block area surrounding the lots addressed in the removal action.  EPA completed the RI/FS in July 1996 and selected a long-term cleanup action for the site in a Record of Decision (ROD).  The selected cleanup action included excavation and off-site disposal of approximately 300 cubic yards of soil contaminated with cyanide, arsenic, and PAHs  found on about 16 residential lots, including areas of contamination remaining on the lots previously addressed by the 1993 emergency removal action.

EPA initiated a Remedial Design and Remedial Action because two potentially responsible parties refused to comply with a Unilateral Administrative Order (UAO) the Agency issued in September 1996 to complete the required work under federal oversight.  EPA completed the Remedial Design in August 1997.

EPA began on-site construction for the long term cleanup in April 1998.  By September 2000, all excavation and site restoration was complete.  A total of approximately 3,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil was excavated and disposed of off site. On July 13, 2001, EPA signed a ROD Amendment to address a layer of general refuse found under a city park at the site. The ROD Amendment called for implementation of deed restrictions on the park property to prevent exposure of the waste material. The waste is located beneath three feet of clean soil. 

In February 2002, EPA issued a UAO to the city of Wyandotte that required the city to implement the deed restrictions and maintenance of the soil cover in the park. The city has complied with the UAO.

In May 2002, additional cyanide contamination was found beneath the porch of one home near where cleanup work was previously performed. In October 2002, EPA's contractor mobilized to the site, excavated the contamination, and waterproofed the basement wall.  Drainage tile repair at the home was completed in February 2003.

In 2010, EPA conducted a FYR at the site and issued the FYR report on March 21, 2011. The remedy was determined to be protective and EPA made no recommendations for follow-up actions concerning the ICs and cover maintenance efforts for the park.

In 2012, the State of Michigan and EPA reviewed the effectiveness of the existing IC in place for the 1-acre parcel that contains municipal-type wastes underneath a soil cover and concluded that the existing restrictive covenant is sufficiently protective.  However, the State requested that consideration should be made to modify the existing language in the IC to make it consistent with current model IC language used by the State. EPA will consider modifiying the language in the restrictive covenant, if necessary, when the next FYR is conducted at the site in 2015/2016. In early 2015, EPA will notify the State and the public when it starts the next FYR.

Community Involvement

On September 9, 2010, EPA announced that it was beginning a FYR at the Lower Ecorse Creek site.  The announcement was made by an advertisement placed in the News Herald.  EPA did not receive any comments during the public comment period.  EPA issued the Five-Year Review report on March 21, 2011.

Property Reuse

The majority of the Lower Ecorse Creek site is residentially developed.  Homes were built on the properties as far back as the mid-1900s. The area continues to remain primarily residential, with the park continuing to be used recreationally. The park contains swing sets, a jungle gym, and a picnic shelter. The city plans to continue to use this area as a city park. In spring 2006, the Oak Street Site began redevelopment for commercial use.


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

Community Involvement Coordinator, U.S. EPA
Heriberto Leon
(312) 886-6163




Site Profile Information

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


Local Navigation

Jump to main content.