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Great Lakes Article:

Landfill cleanup set to begin this summer
By Linda Spice
Milwaukee Jouranl Sentinel
04/15/03


Oak Creek - The Environmental Protection Agency plans this summer to begin cleaning up an inactive landfill contaminated with arsenic at an estimated cost to the landowners of more than $5 million, an agency representative told the Oak Creek Common Council on Tuesday night.

Coming eight years after the contamination was discovered, Brad Bradley, remedial project manager for the Boerke Landfill site, said the EPA has an agreement with the landowners to clean up the contamination starting in June.

"It's a pretty simple job," Bradley later told a reporter. "You dig the dirt and make sure you don't cause any damage in the process."

The cleanup activity is expected to continue through the fall.

The 50-acre site, at the top of a steep bluff along Lake Michigan, is just north of Bender Park, which holds high development hopes for the city. An EPA study in 1995 showed at the time that the deadly chemical presented a danger to animals and people who ventured onto the site.

Bradley indicated that only about one acre actually contained contamination. He said testing by the state Department of Natural Resources revealed the contamination after someone found a red icicle hanging from the side of a nearby bluff.

The arsenic was traced to a dye manufacturing company DuPont Chemicals used to run just north of the property. Four years later, the property's current owner, EPEC Polymers Inc., was found to be partially responsible for the contamination.

Initially, after investigations and discussions, the EPA had considered asking the companies to simply cover the property that was contaminated. But city officials argued that the area needed to be completely cleaned because it was near a prime location for development.

Oak Creek planners are targeting Bender Park for an upscale golf course, which they hope will attract nearby developments of high-priced condominiums and retail shops.

Under the EPA's proposed plan, the contaminated land will be excavated, transported, treated and disposed of at an off-site facility, which has not yet been determined. The EPA has scheduled a community forum to discuss the project May 27.

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