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EPA begins final thermal treatment phase of soil cleanup at the Velsicol Superfund site in St. Louis, Michigan

Contact Information: 
Rachel Bassler (

CHICAGO (April 12, 2021) – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy today began the last phase of in-place thermal treatment of contaminated soil at the Velsicol Chemical Corp. Superfund site at 500 N. Bankson St. in St. Louis. EPA anticipates this work will be completed in late 2021.

Special equipment is being used to heat the soil and the groundwater, capture contaminants, and treat them on-site. When this is completed, EPA will begin a new cleanup phase to excavate the soil and dispose of it off-site. A groundwater treatment system will also be installed.

This is the second treatment phase of Area 2 at the site. The first phase of soil treatment began in October 2019 and removed more than 180,000 pounds of contaminants. Area 1 treatment was completed in October 2018, during which 56,000 pounds of contaminants were removed.

Velsicol produced fire retardant polybrominated biphenyl and the pesticide dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, commonly referred to as DDT, from 1936 until 1978 when the plant shut down. The chemicals polluted the groundwater, soil, and Pine River that bordered the plant. In the 1980s, the factory was demolished, but elevated levels of benzene and 1,2 dichloroethane remain in the groundwater beneath the site.

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