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EPA okays MMSD cleanup and sampling plan for PCB-contaminated parks and schools

Release Date: 08/10/2007
Contact Information: Mick Hans, 312-353-5050,

No. 07-OPA139

(Chicago, Ill. - Aug. 10, 2007) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 today approved a cleanup and sampling plan for PCB-contaminated parks and school properties submitted by the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District.

The approach proposed by MMSD follows EPA's national guidelines and allows the park and school properties to be reopened as quickly as possible.

MMSD contractors, working under EPA oversight, will clean up hot spots at two school park properties with PCB contamination above 1 part per million. One is on a grassy area at Dyer School Park, 151 N. 80th St. The other is at a baseball diamond at Wick School Park, 4929 W. Vliet St.

Additionally, MMSD contractors will collect a second round of samples at 12 properties where PCB levels are below 1 ppm but merit further analysis.

The properties in this group are: other portions of both Dyer and Wick School parks, and parks at Burnham School, Carmen School, Custer School, Hamilton School, Lewis School, Pulaski School and South Division School, as well as Grant, Root River and Sheridan County parks.

In July, MMSD confirmed that sludge-derived fertilizer containing PCBs had been spread at 25 school parks and 5 park district properties in Milwaukee County. EPA has overseen the collection and analysis of more than 800 soil samples collected from the 30 properties.

PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, are a group of toxic chemicals that were widely used as coolants, insulators and lubricants. They are of concern because they concentrate in the food chain resulting in health hazards to people, fish and wildlife. Congress banned the manufacture of new PCBs in 1976, and PCBs still in use are strictly regulated.

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