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The EPA removes Lansing site from Superfund's National Priority List

1404 N. Larch St. Lansing
Posted at 7:16 PM, Sep 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-15 20:02:12-04

LANSING, Mich. — The Barrels Inc. site on Larch Street in Lansing, a once-contaminated former drum reclamation facility, has been removed from Superfund's National Priority List.

The list tracks the nation’s most contaminated sites. There are 64 sites in Michigan on this list, making them eligible for cleanup under the Superfund program. The Environmental Protection Agency determined the cleanup for the Barrel's Inc. site at 1404 N. Larch St. was complete in March.

"Deletion of sites from the National Priority List occurs once all of the response actions at the site are complete and and all the cleanup goals for the site have been achieved," said Lauren Bumba, remedial project manager for the EPA. "In this case, the big one was removal of all the soils at the site that were contaminated."

The site was added to the National Priority List in 1989 due to spills that contaminated surface soil with metals, volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds, polychlorinated biphenyls and cyanide.

"Prior to the cleanup there were a lot of issues with trespassing at the site because it was abandoned," Bumba said, adding that EPA received reports of children playing at the site.

"Levels that were found in the soil prior to cleanup were determined to pose an unacceptable risk to future users of the site, and in this case it would be future workers at the site," Bumba said. "Lead, for instance, the highest concentration found was about 6,400 parts per million, which is very high."

All soil at the site is now down to levels of lead that are less than 700 parts per million, the industrial cleanup standard. The cleanup involved removing and disposing of approximately 1,000 drums, nine underground storage tanks and more than 13,000 tons of contaminated soil. Bumba said contaminated groundwater is not a concern for this site.

"The site is required to stay industrial into the future and it's specifically prohibited from being used as a residential property or as a school or daycare," Bumba said.

The initial cost of cleanup at the site was $450,000. The 15 responsible parties reimbursed the state for the initial cleanup in the '80s.

"I don't have a good figure for what the responsible parties spent after that on the cleanup, but it was financed entirely by that responsible party group," Bumba said.

The EPA will continue to monitor the site.

"Sometimes folks are a little confused about what being deleted from the NPL means," said Chief of Remedial Response Branch Number Two Tim Fischer. He is one of two managers who oversee the Remedial Superfund Program in region five. "Sometimes they think that EPA will be gone from the site forever after that but that's not really the case. We still conduct five-year reviews, we still conduct O&M of systems at sites to make sure they continue to work."

"Project managers at EPA are required to do yearly site inspections and site visits. The five-year review process will start in 2025 for this site," Bumba said.

The remedial investigation at the Adams Plating site, another Lansing site on the Superfund priority list, is nearing completion. Bumba said the project manager is preparing a proposed plan and a public meeting will be scheduled, likely in November or December.

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