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News Releases from Region 05

EPA, Michigan complete second phase of soil treatment at Velsicol Superfund site

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Allison Lippert (

ST. LOUIS, Mich. (Sep. 2, 2020) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) have completed the second phase of soil treatment at the Velsicol Superfund site. The next phase will begin in spring 2021.

“Thanks to innovative treatment technology and the support of our state and local partners, we’re removing contamination that’s been underground at the Velsicol site for decades,” said Region 5 Administrator Kurt Thiede. “The results we’ve seen are promising for future cleanup activities that will contribute to a healthier environment for the St. Louis community.”

“EGLE is very pleased with the successful completion of this phase of the thermal treatment at the Velsicol site,” said Michigan EGLE Director Liesl Clark. “We look forward to working with EPA on the implementation of the rest of the cleanup actions at the site to protect the citizens of St. Louis and the environment.”

“After decades of hard work by the St. Louis community, the end of the second phase of soil treatment is a continued step in the right direction that will benefit the health and safety of every resident,” said Rep. John Moolenaar. “There is still more work to be done and I am hopeful that the community and the EPA will make even more progress in the next phase of the cleanup.”

The second phase of soil treatment began in October 2019 and removed more than 180,000 pounds of contaminants from the location of Velsicol Chemical’s former manufacturing facility. EPA and EGLE used thermal treatment technology to heat the soil and the groundwater, capture contaminants and treat them on-site. EPA and EGLE previously removed 56,000 pounds of contaminants during the first phase of the cleanup, completed in October 2018.

Velsicol produced fire retardant polybrominated biphenyl (PBB) and the pesticide dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (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.

EPA recently added the Summer 2020 Pine River Progress Newsletter, Thermal Treatment Shutdown Documentation, Slurry Wall Report and Carbon Study Report to its Velsicol Superfund site webpage. For these reports and more information, please visit: