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Congressional District # 12


EPA ID# MIN000510063
Last Updated: December, 2011

Site Description

The Ten-Mile Drain Site is located near the intersection of Bon Brae Street and Harper Avenue in St. Clair Shores, Macomb County, Michigan. It includes a portion of the Ten Mile drain storm sewer system, which consists of the concrete sewer pipes and soil surrounding the pipes in utility corridor approximately 15 feet underground. The site encompasses a several block area where polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) have been documented to be present in significant quantities in the underground utility. The PCBs are migrating into the storm sewer which empties into two canals connected to Lake St Clair. The canals are private property and are used by the residents for recreational boating, swimming, and fishing. The canals provide boat access to Lake St. Clair.

In September 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized the Ten-Mile Drain Site on the National Priorities List (NPL). The NPL is a roster of the nation’s hazardous waste sites eligible for investigation and cleanup under EPA’s Superfund Program.

Site Responsibility

The Ten-Mile Drain Site is being addressed through federal and state actions. In addition, EPA continues to collaborate with county and local officials regarding site activities.

Threats and Contaminants

PCBs are the primary contaminant found at the site. PCBs are a group of chemicals originally used in industrial processes. PCBs have also been used in sealants, rubber, paints, plastics, printing ink and insecticides. All PCBs are man-made; there are no known natural sources of PCBs in the environment. PCBs are either oily liquids or solids. They are colorless to light yellow and do not have a known smell or taste. PCBs do not readily dissolve in water or easily break down in the environment. In 1977, PCB production was banned in the United States. 

PCBs can pose potential health risks through eating PCB-contaminated food, soil, or water; through direct contact; or through breathing PCB-contaminated air or particles. EPA considers PCBs as potential cancer-causing chemicals.

Cleanup Progress

In September 2010, EPA’s work at the Ten-Mile Drain Site moved from the removal portion of EPA's Superfund program to the remedial portion. Agency staff in the remedial program work on long-term cleanup projects. The current emphasis at the Ten-Mile Drain site is on finding the source(s) of PCB contamination that continues to enter into the underground storm sewer drain system. Once the source(s) have been identified, the next step will be to conduct a comprehensive investigation to determine the nature and extent of the PCB contamination and evaluate any potential risks to human health and the environment. The results from these studies will be used to design the most effective approach to clean up the source(s) and stop the potential for recontamination. 

The following notable activities have occurred at the site: 

March-April 2010: EPA removed water from the drain and installed 15 weirs (small dams) within the drain, bringing the total number of weirs to 17. EPA also removed PCB oil and PCB-contaminated sediment from within the drain.

May 2010: City of St. Clair Shores began monitoring the weirs and periodically sampling behind the weirs to keep track of sediment and PCB levels. The city continued this monitoring work, as well as sampling ground water and surface water at the outfall of the drain at the Lange/Revere canals, through 2011 under a grant from the state of Michigan.

September 2010: EPA placed the Ten-Mile Drain site on the NPL, making it eligible for investigation and cleanup under the Superfund Program.

February 26, 2011: EPA removed PCB oil and placed absorbent snares at six weir locations that had PCB contamination; absorbent snares soak up oil and further inhibit movement of the contamination.

April-May 2011: EPA took 90 samples from within the underground utility corridors (i.e., water, gas, sanitary sewers) that intersect the Ten-Mile storm drain near the Bon Brae and Harper intersection in an effort to identify the source of PCBs and confirm whether PCBs are traveling along other utility corridors. EPA's next steps include working with the county, state and city to review the summary reports of this investigation.

April 2011: The City of St. Clair Shores inspected the absorbent snares and removed and replaced the snares that contained oil; the city placed clean absorbent snares at four weir locations.

July 2011: EPA presented a proposed interim cleanup plan for the Ten-Mile Drain site at a public meeting held on July 26, 2011. EPA proposed to conduct monthly monitoring and removal, as needed, of PCB-contaminated oil and sediments that are accumulating behind a series of weirs that were previously installed in the underground storm sewer drain. The purpose of the interim source control activities would be to slow the discharge of PCB contamination to the Lange and Revere canals, while EPA continues its remedial investigation and until a final cleanup plan is selected for the site.

August 2011: EPA crews took sediment samples from the 10 Mile/Lang/Revere canals as part of the ongoing investigation into the Ten-Mile Drain Superfund Site. 

September 27, 2011: EPA issued an interim Record of Decision (ROD) for the Ten-Mile Drain Superfund Site to address the high concentrations of PCB oil and contaminated sediments that are accumulating behind the weirs within the underground drain system. The selected interim action includes monitoring and removal, as needed, of the PCB-contaminated oil and sediments that are accumulating behind the weirs, until such time as EPA selects and implements a final cleanup plan for the site.


Community Involvement

In early July 2010, EPA officials met one-on-one with area residents and officials to discuss their concerns about the ongoing investigation at the Ten-Mile Drain Site. Based on the results of these interviews, EPA drafted a Community Involvement Plan or CIP for the site. The purpose of the CIP is to provide EPA with information about community concerns and enhance communication between residents and EPA. The CIP will be a living document that will evolve based on input from the community and as the investigation and cleanup process continues. Community involvement is crucial to the development of the plan.

Site photos, presentation slides, fact sheets, and other site-related documents can be found at EPA's Ten-Mile Drain Superfund website, which can be found at http://www.epa.gov/region5/cleanup/tenmiledrain/index.html.

In addition, site documents can be read at the St. Clair Shores Public Library, EPA's information repository for the site. EPA will hold future public meetings as work progresses at the site.

Congressional Interest

Since early February 2011, EPA has hosted periodic conference calls for elected officials and their staff to provide details about site-related activities and communication strategies to update the public. Staff from the offices of Representative Levin, U.S. Senator Levin, and State Senator Bieda have participated on the calls.


Remedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA
colleen moynihan (moynihan.colleen@epa.gov)
(312) 353-8196





Site Profile Information

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


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