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Congressional District # 12


EPA ID# MIN000510063
Last Updated: January, 2014

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, known as the Lange and Revere Street 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

Following the discovery of PCBs at the site, EPA conducted removal actions to address the contamination that had been identified. EPA dredged the canals and cleaned out the underground storm sewer drain system, but the contamination returned. As a result, in September 2010, EPA's work at the Ten-Mile Drain site shifted from the removal portion of EPA's Superfund program to the remedial portion, which focuses on long-term cleanup projects.

The following is a list of the most notable activities that have occurred at the site since 2010:

March-April 2010: EPA removed water from the drain and installed 15 weirs (small dams), bringing 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 weirs and periodically sampling behind weirs to keep track of sediment and PCB levels. The City continued this monitoring work through 2011 under a grant from the State of Michigan. 

September 2010: EPA placed the Ten-Mile Drain site on the NPL.

Late February 2011: EPA removed PCB oil and placed absorbent snares at six weir locations with PCB contamination. Absorbent snares soak up oil and further inhibit movement of contamination.

April 2011: City of St. Clair Shores inspected absorbent snares and removed and replaced snares containing oil. Clean absorbent snares were placed at four weir locations.

April-May 2011: EPA took 90 samples as part of its Source Area Investigation in an effort to identify the source of PCBs within the Ten-Mile Drain system.

Late August 2011:
EPA collected sediment samples from the Lange and Revere Street 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 interim source control activities at the site. The source control activities selected in the ROD address the high concentrations of PCB oil and contaminated sediments that are accumulating behind the 17 weirs inside the underground pipe and the sediment trap at the outfall.  The source control activities are to be conducted monthly and consist of monitoring and removal of PCB oil and contaminated sediments from behind the weirs and sediment trap. These interim actions are designed to help prevent the PCB contamination from moving further through the storm sewer and entering the Lange and Revere Street canals.

January 2012: EPA finalized its Source Area Investigation Report. The major finding was that EPA found high concentrations of PCBs lying inside the pipe trench below four manhole vaults along Bon Brae Street, approximately 15 feet below the ground. These pockets of PCBs are capable of re-contaminating the sediment and water inside the Ten-Mile drain pipe and ultimately the Lange and Revere Street canals. The pollution concentrations discovered are located outside of the Ten-Mile drain concrete pipe, and the PCB oil has soaked into the gravel and sand backfill of the pipe trench at the four vaulted manhole locations. 

Late April 2012 (ongoing): EPA initiated the interim source control activities selected in EPA's September 2011 ROD. These activities are ongoing on a monthly basis. 

April 22 - June 7, 2013: EPA conducted sampling at some residential and commercial properties for the first phase of the site-wide remedial investigation.

September 9-20, 2013: EPA conducted additional residential sampling for the second phase of the site-wide remedial investigation.


Cleanup Options Evaluated for Vaulted Manhole Locations 

EPA developed a “focused feasibility study” (focused FS) to evaluate options for managing or removing the high-concentrations of PCBs that were found beneath four manhole vaults in the Ten Mile drain. The focused FS looks at ways that the potential cleanup options can be carried out safely, effectively, and in accordance with state and federal laws.

Based on the focused FS, EPA issued a proposed interim cleanup plan for the vaulted manhole locations in early December 2013. EPA hosted an open house and public meeting on December 12, 2013, to present the proposed interim cleanup options to the public and to accept public comments on the proposal. The proposed plan recommends removing and replacing the two vaulted manhole locations that have the highest PCB concentrations, including removing the adjacent backfill materials. The public comment period on the proposal ran from December 4, 2013, to January 6, 2014. EPA, in consultation with the Michigan Department
of Environmental Quality, will select a final interim cleanup plan only after considering the public comments it received. The final interim cleanup plan will be published in a record of decision. The ROD will include a response to all public comments and will be available for review online at www.epa.gov/region5/cleanup/tenmiledrain/ and in the official site information repository at the St. Clair Shores Public Library.

Site-wide Remedial Investigation (ongoing)

Another step in the campaign to clean up the Ten-Mile Drain Site is a comprehensive long-term investigation of the entire site. Previous studies have focused on the storm sewer system at the intersection of Bon Brae Street and Harper Avenue. In April 2013, EPA began a comprehensive site-wide study, called a “remedial investigation” (RI). EPA conducted residential and commercial sampling during the first phase of site-wide RI, and additional residential sampling during the second phase. This investigation will determine how widespread the PCB contamination is and how much the contamination has traveled beyond the drain and canals. A site-wide feasibility study will then be conducted to develop cleanup options for the remaining contaminants at the site, after the high PCB concentrations at the bottom of the manhole vaults have been dealt with.

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 those interviews, EPA prepared a Community Involvement Plan (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.

The following is a list of the EPA's community involvement activities since 2011:

October 10 and 11, 2011: EPA's Community Involvement Coordinator conducted door-to-door visits with residents living along the Lange and Revere canals to establish a relationship and provide follow-up about the most recent sediment sampling activities.

December 6, 2011: EPA hosted an open-house style meeting along with representatives from state and local agencies, all of whom were available to answer any questions that the community might have about work at the Ten-Mile Drain site.

February 6, 2012: EPA staff provided an informational presentation of “Superfund 101” at the City of St. Clair Shores’ City Council study session.

March 5, 2012: EPA hosted an informal open-house style meeting and a formal public meeting to discuss the results of the source investigation sampling project. The open-house meeting allowed residents an opportunity to meet one-on-one with EPA, state, county and local agency representatives and health officials. Residents had a chance to see poster-sized maps displaying sample results, and drawings depicting the current site conceptual model. Additionally, EPA staff displayed 3D earthVision images of the sample locations and sample results, including the results from all the underground utility corridors (i.e., water, gas, sanitary sewer, storm drain) that were targeted during the 2011 sampling effort. At the public meeting, EPA presented its findings and explained the next steps that would be taken at the site.

March 25, 2013: EPA hosted an informal open-house style meeting and a formal public meeting to discuss the next phase of its comprehensive site-wide remedial investigation field work. Residents had an opportunity to meet one-on-one with EPA, state, county, and local agency representatives and health officials. At the public meeting, EPA presented the site-wide field sampling plan and a general site update.

June 26, 2013: EPA met with members of the Lakecrest-Rio Vista Canal Association.

September 26, 2013: EPA hosted an availability session for residents who were notified about their property's soil sample results.

December 12, 2013: EPA hosted an availability session and public meeting to present the proposed interim cleanup plan and to collect public comment on the proposed 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

Community Involvement Coordinator, U.S. EPA
janet pope
(312) 353-0628




Site Profile Information

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


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