Superfund Program Case Study

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1. Define the Superfund Program The federal government’s program to locate and investigate and clean up the worst uncontrolled and abandoned toxic waste sites nationwide; administered by the EPA - Environmental Protection Agency. 2. Identify a Superfund site within your own state. There are a lot of sites in the state of Michigan. The Superfund site that is closest to where I live is the Torch Lake site in Houghton County, Upper Michigan. EPA ID#MID980901946. 3. Give some background information on the site and the proposed plans to deal with the contamination. A. Where is the problem? The Torch Lake Superfund site is comprised of several areas ranging in size from approximately 10 acres to over 200 acres in size. The areas…show more content…
Copper mining activities in the area from the 1890s until 1969 produced mill tailings (called stamp sands) that contaminated the lake sediments and shoreline. This site is being addressed through federal Fund-lead actions with the State of MI conducting Operation and Maintenance activities. About 200 million tons of copper mill stamp sands were dumped into Torch Lake itself, filling about 20 percent of the lake's volume. The contaminated sediments are believed to be 70 feet thick in some areas, and surface sediments contain up to 2,000 parts per million (ppm) of copper. The stamp sands deposited in Torch Lake and on the shoreline were dredged up during the early part of the 1900s and were processed with flotation chemicals to reclaim copper. The stamp sands and much of the flotation chemicals were returned to the lake and the shoreline. Torch Lake has also received mine pumpage, leaching chemicals, explosive residues, and by-products. In 1972, an estimated 27,000 gallons of cupric ammonium carbonate were released into the lake from storage vats. Barrels have been found at several sites along the shoreline of the…show more content…
The EPA will continue to monitor the parcel until September 2012 at which point the Operation and Maintenance activities will be transferred to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ). Once the Institutional Controls (ICs) are in place, the Quincy Smelter parcel will be eligible for delisting from the National Priorities List (NPL). Currently there are 9 out of 11 Torch Lake parcels currently on the NPL. MDEQ has initiated the delisting of an additional three parcels: Michigan Smelter, Isle Royale, and Mason Sands. The goal is to get these parcels delisted by the end of the year. Of the remaining 6 parcels only 1 is eligible for delisting: Calumet Lake. The other five parcels (Boston Pond, Point Mills, Dollar Bay, Quincy Smelter, and North Entry) do not have the appropriate Institutional Controls (ICs) in place and as such cannot be delisted from the NPL. EPA and MDEQ have identified properties that need ICs and are planning to conduct community outreach to help those property owners put the necessary ICs on their

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