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February 2004

Million Dollar Oil Cleanup Project Completed

Chicago, IL— U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 said that cleanup at the Sybill Oil site, a used oil recycling facility in Detroit, is now complete. The $1 million project, which began in July, was paid for by a group of companies including General Motors and Rouge Steel Co.

The site, at 111 Military Road, was brought to EPA’s attention by the city of Detroit and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

“EPA needed to take action because of the potential for hazardous run-off from the site reaching the Detroit River,” said Regional Administrator Tom Skinner. “We and the other agencies also were concerned about flammable materials left at the site after Sybill sought bankruptcy protection in August 2001.”

The cleanup, supervised by a Grosse Ile-based EPA Superfund emergency response team in consultation with MDEQ, included disposal of 26 above-ground storage tanks, 36 tons of bulk waste, 1 million gallons of waste liquids, more than 200 chemical drums and other containers, and a laboratory area. Throughout the project, air quality along the site border was monitored to ensure neighborhood safety. A few buildings and a water tower remain at the site.

Sybill operated from 1991 to 2001. During this time it was cited by the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department and MDEQ for air and wastewater discharge violations. Prior to Sybill, GM operated an oil processing plant at the site. GM was preceded by a Detroit municipal water treatment facility.

Prior to the current cleanup, in 2002, GM and Rouge Steel voluntarily removed and disposed of 1.3 million gallons of wastewater and waste oils from tanks and containment areas. In January 2003, EPA sealed off eight sewer drains to prevent releases of oil and upgraded locks and fences at the site.

The group of companies that paid for the cleanup includes General Motors, Rouge Steel, Ford Motor Co., Detroit Diesel Corp., all of whom sent used oil to the site for recycling, Sybill Inc., and the estate of V.V. Madias, the owner and operator of Sybill (also known as SRS Inc.). Under the terms of an administrative order on consent in which the group agreed to perform the work, EPA waived $56,000 in investigative and emergency containment costs it had already spent on the site.


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