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November 2004

$1.8 Million Creosote Contamination Cleanup Conducted on Shoreline

Chicago, IL— U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 recently completed a $1.8 million cleanup and containment of creosote contamination along the Little Bay de Noc shoreline in Gladstone, Michigan.

The EPA-funded project began this past March. Michigan Department of Environmental Quality had requested EPA assistance after a resident reported an oily sheen on the bay. The cleanup was overseen by a Grosse Ile, Michigan superfund emergency response team in consultation with MDEQ,

Michigan Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the city of Gladstone.

The project involved removal of about 4,900 tons of creosote-contaminated beach soil, on-site treatment of 1.3 million gallons of contaminated water and installation of a barrier-and-collection system to prevent the material from seeping into the bay, which is part of Lake Michigan.

EPA conducted extensive air monitoring during the cleanup to ensure hazardous emissions were not leaving the work area. Both Michigan Department of Community Health and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry found no air-related health concerns.

The tar-like material most likely came from the former MacGillis and Gibbs Co. property, northeast of the site, across Lakeshore Drive from the beach. The company operated from about 1943 to 1979. EPA believes that creosote from the company’s wood-treating operations slowly moved, over a period of decades, from the MacGillis site under the road and then resurfaced on the beach. Today the former 45-acre industrial property has been subdivided into a number of parcels that include a gas station, a car wash, a restaurant and two condominium complexes.

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