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E-M:/ PCBs at Willow Run Creek, Ypsilanti

Enviro-Mich message from asagady@sojourn.com

Legal Contact: John Steketee
                                                   (312) 886-0558 

                                        Technical Contact: John Connell
                                                   (312) 886-6832 

                                            Media Contact: Mick Hans
                                                   (312) 353-5050 

            For Immediate Release: July 15, 1997 

            No. 97-OPA156 


            U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 5 said today
            that it has sent a letter to the operators of the Willow Run Creek
            Landfill (Ypsilanti, MI) requesting that the facility take immediate
            measures to prevent releases of PCB-contaminated dust generated by
            cleanup of three lagoons and ponds that were historically used for
            waste disposal at the site. 

            The Willow Run Sludge Lagoon is part of an extensive natural
            wetland which was used as a dump site for a bomber plant and a
            wastewater treatment facility from 1942 to 1964. Nearby Tyler Pond
            and Edison Pond also received wastewater from these facilities. 

            A $70 million cleanup effort to address contamination from PCB's
            and heavy metals within the property is being overseen by the
            Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Dredging of the
            contaminated sludges, sediments, and soils began in June. They are
            being disposed of in an EPA-approved containment cell soouthwest
            of the Willow Run Airport. When complete, about 350,000 cubic
            yards (17,500 truck loads) of contaminated material will have been

            The Willow Run Creek Landfill is located less than one mile from
            Wayne Disposal, an EPA-approved PCB-disposal facility. 

            EPA's letter notes that on 5 days between June 25 and July 8, 1997,
            unexpectedly high levels of airborne PCB's were recorded by air
            monitoring stations at the landfill. However, due to the short
            of these levels, EPA does not believe human health and the
            environment were endangered. 

            In addition, two air-quality monitoring stations at the site were
            recently moved from EPA-designated locations. In the letter, EPA
            requested the air monitoring stations be restored, or the
reasons for
            their relocation justified to EPA, within the next 48 hours. 

            "To ensure community health and safety, EPA's primary concern is
            continued minimization of PCB dust levels in the area around the
            Willow Run Creek Landfill," said Acting Regional Administrator
            David Ullrich. "We are aware that the operators have already taken
            steps to respond to this situation and we are fully confident
that they
            will be able to address EPA's concerns within the next 48 hours." 

            There are a number of parties responsible for contamination at the
            landfill. PCB-disposal approval for the landfill is jointly held by
            General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co., which have assumed
            responsibility for cleanup at the site. 

            PCB's are a group of chemicals once widely used in industry as
            coolants and lubricants. EPA banned the manufacture of PCB's in
            1979 because of evidence that they accumulate in the
            environment--including in freshwater fish and aquatic birds--and
            present human health hazards. 

Alex J. Sagady & Associates        Email:  asagady@sojourn.com
Environmental Consulting and Database Systems
PO Box 39  East Lansing, MI  48826-0039  
(517) 332-6971 (voice); (517) 332-8987 (fax)

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