CHICAGO, Illinois, October 5, 2007 (ENS) – The Cedar Creek Superfund site is in a suburban residential area in southeastern Wisconsin north of Milwaukee in the historic city and township of Cedarburg.
It would be a pleasant place to live except that PCBs from two local companies have contaminated Cedar Creek so severely that the area has been placed on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Priorities List of the most contaminated sites in the country.
PCBs were once widely used by industry as coolants, insulators and lubricants. The manufacture of PCBs in the United States was stopped in 1977, but the compounds remain in the environment for a long time. They are linked to cancer, as well as reproductive and developmental problems in people and animals. PCB contaminated river sediment affects fish, wildlife and people as it rises through the food chain.
One source of the PCBs is the boat manufacturer Mercury Marine, which operated a plant on St. John Avenue from 1951 to 1982. Fluids, containing PCBs, leaked from equipment and were washed into floor drains. These drains emptied into storm sewers, and those sewers emptied into Ruck Pond on the creek and flowed into the Milwaukee River.
The second source of contamination in the area is Amcast, a local automotive industry supplier on Hamilton Road in Cedarburg. It also had a plant that emptied PCBs into the creek via storm sewers. One of them emptied into Hamilton Pond, upstream of Green Bay Road. Due to heavy rains and high creek flow in 1996, the Hamilton Dam collapsed and was removed. The pond was drained leaving behind several acres of mud flats containing PCBs.
Since Amcast filed for bankruptcy in 2004, a third study has been stalled. Sewers near the Amcast property and soil under the building were sampled in November 2005. But the results were never forwarded to EPA because Amcast told its contractor to stop working.
Now the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a $2.3 million cleanup plan for the Cedar Creek Superfund site. The EPA has chosen to recommend the excavation of shallow and subsurface soil plus ground-water monitoring.
A comment period runs from October 8 to November 9. A public meeting where comments may be submitted orally or in writing will be held at 7 pm, Wednesday, October 10, at the Cedarburg City Hall Council Chambers, W63 N645 Washington Ave.
Copies of the study that evaluated cleanup options, the proposed plan and other site documents are on the Web at http://www.epa.gov/region5/sites/cedarcreek. Residents with questions may contact EPA Community Involvement Coordinator Susan Pastor, 800-621-8431, Ext. 31325, or firstname.lastname@example.org