EPA Picks Cleanup Plan for South Milwaukee Site

CHICAGO, Jan. 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 has selected a final cleanup plan for residential areas on the former Northwestern Barrel property in South Milwaukee, Wis.

Under the plan, deep soil — about 4 to 10 feet below street level — in two portions of the residential area will be treated. As a preventive measure against vapors entering basements during the project, venting systems installed along condominium Buildings 1, 2, 3 and 4 in 2004 will continue to pump air from basement sumps during the treatment. Also, deed restrictions may be established to require that future sewer and utility projects deeper than three feet must have a health and safety plan. EPA considered four options before selecting the $322,000 cleanup plan.

The Superfund site includes two properties totaling 18 acres on the Lake Michigan shoreline near Fifth Avenue and Marina Road. One portion is owned by the condominium complex, with the vacant land east of the condos owned by Towne Realty. Northwestern Barrel Co., a chemical drum reconditioning business, operated at the site from the early 1940s to the mid-1960s. The company’s operations led to extensive soil contamination in upland areas, the bluff and ravine, and ground water beneath the site.

Most cleanup work at the Towne Realty property portion of the site was completed in early 2006. This past fall, contractors restored the wetland at the shoreline and worked on erosion control work on the slope. Some modifications may follow in the spring.

EPA, with assistance from Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, has overseen a series of cleanups at the two properties since 1995.

A 30-day public comment period on the cleanup selection, including a public hearing, was held Oct. 18 – Nov. 17, 2006.

Residents with questions about the project may contact Bri Bill, Community Involvement Coordinator, U.S. EPA Region 5, (800) 621-8431, Ext. 36636 weekdays, or [email protected].