Colleen Moynihan, remedial project manager with the EPA, listens to concerns from St. Clair Shores resident Sue Lucas in 2016. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law passed by Congress in December will fund seven stalled Superfund sites in the Midwest, including the 10 Mile Drain project in St. Clair Shores.

Colleen Moynihan, remedial project manager with the EPA, listens to concerns from St. Clair Shores resident Sue Lucas in 2016. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law passed by Congress in December will fund seven stalled Superfund sites in the Midwest, including the 10 Mile Drain project in St. Clair Shores.

File photo by Kristyne E. Demske


Cleanup at 10 Mile Superfund site funded with infrastructure act

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published January 26, 2022

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — A plan developed in 2018 to clean up contamination of the 10 Mile Drain will receive funding to proceed with the passage of a bipartisan infrastructure law that will clear the backlog of 49 previously unfunded Superfund sites and accelerate cleanup at dozens of other sites across the country.

The 10 Mile Drain was placed on the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Priorities List in 2010, making it eligible for cleanup under the Superfund program. According to information provided by the EPA, investigators think that oil contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, was historically released from a commercial property at the corner of Lakeland Street and Harper Avenue, either through dumping or for dust control of a former dirt parking lot. The contaminated oil was then likely tracked onto adjacent properties by vehicles and people, where it flowed into the 10 Mile Drain system. As of 2018, the EPA said there is not an ongoing release of the chemical from the commercial property to the drain system.

At that time, the EPA proposed cleanup action on 25 properties in the area of Bon Brae and Lakeland streets and Harper Avenue, and around the Lange and Revere Street canals, as well as part of a commercial property and three utility corridors. The agency wanted to sample and test up to 100 other properties in the areas to see if they are contaminated, as well.

EPA Region 5 Remedial Project Manager Colleen Moynihan said the cleanup plan has been on hold for nearly two years, awaiting funding for the cleanup.

“Infrastructure funds will be used to remove and dispose of PCB-contaminated soil from residential yards, parkway/utility corridors and commercial properties, and to restore those same properties,” she said in an email interview. “EPA selected this remedy in 2018 and will now have the funding to start and complete this important work.”

After sampling and testing, the EPA has determined that 47 properties, including two commercial properties, will have their soil cleaned, Moynihan said.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law passed by Congress in December will fund seven stalled Superfund sites in the Midwest, including the 10 Mile Drain project in St. Clair Shores. The remedial design has already been completed for the 47 properties, and the infrastructure funds will allow the EPA to move forward with the cleanup of PCB contamination.

“Many Michigan families and local communities have been waiting way too many years to have toxic Superfund sites cleaned up in their own backyards. The recently passed infrastructure bill is going to finally make the cleanup of these sites a reality in Charlevoix, Mancelona, St. Louis and St. Clair Shores,” said U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow in a press release.

“One important reason I voted to pass this bill was so the Environmental Protection Agency will get dedicated funding to help solve dangerous situations for the health and safety of our families in communities like St. Clair Shores,” agreed U.S. Rep. Andy Levin. “I am thrilled that this is among the first Superfund sites to receive resources for remediation, thanks to the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.”

Moynihan said the EPA is currently conducting a five-year review of the site as required by the Superfund Law. The agency is also working to develop two additional cleanup plans: the first to address the remaining PCB contamination in the 10 Mile Drain storm sewer pipe and backfill materials and the second to address PCB-impacted sediments in the Lange and Revere street canals.

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