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The Ten-Mile Drain (site map) (PDF) (1 pp, 571K, About PDFin St. Clair Shores, Michigan, includes an underground storm sewer utility heavily contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). A historical PCB release is believed to have migrated from a commercial parking lot onto adjacent properties and into and through the Ten Mile Drain storm sewer system (TMD system). The TMD system is approximately 15 feet below ground and discharges into two residential canals – the Lange and Revere Street canals – connected to Lake St. Clair. The canals provide recreational boating access to Lake St. Clair for approximately 125 homes and are also used for swimming and fishing.

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What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?

The site is being addressed through federal and state actions. Several site cleanup milestones have already been achieved.

Several removal actions, interim remedial actions and associated investigations have taken place since PCBs were first discovered at the site in 2001. Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), Macomb County Public Works Office (MCPWO), City of St. Clair Shores, Macomb County Health Department, and EPA’s removal response staff have done extensive cleanup, responded to residents’ concerns, and conducted investigations at the site.

In 2018 EPA selected a remedy for soil in residential and commercial areas Investigation Areas 1 and 2 of the site documented in the 2018 Record of Decision (PDF)(90 pp,2.15MB, About PDF).. The selected cleanup plan includes:

  • Excavating near-surface soil with PCB concentrations exceeding selected cleanup levels.
  • Off-site disposal of PCB-contaminated soil at an appropriate landfill.

In order to prepare for the implementation of the remedy, EPA completed remedial design sampling at 160 of the 195 properties in two residential areas of the Ten-Mile Drain Superfund site in St. Clair Shores in 2019 and 39 additional properties in June 2020. The soil sampling covered Investigation Area 1 around Lakeland and Bon Brae Streets and Harper Avenue, and Investigation Area 2 centered on the Lange and Revere Street canals as shown on this map (PDF) (1 pp,1.66MB, About PDF). The remedial action is anticipated to start pending availability of federal funding. Remedial design is the phase in Superfund site cleanup where the technical specifications for cleanup remedies and technologies are designed.

More information:

Fact Sheet - EPA to Begin Remedial Design Sampling in Residential Areas (PDF) (4 pp, 627 K, About PDF)

In July 2014, EPA completed a time-critical removal of PCB-contaminated soil from nine residential properties and one commercial property. PCBs were found in the soil at or near the ground surface at these locations that was above EPA’s removal action criteria. About 1,500 tons of soil were removed and disposed in an offsite facility located in Wayne, Michigan.

In May 2014, EPA issued a second interim ROD (PDF) (73pp, 107MB, About PDF) based on the TMD site’s 2012 Source Area Investigation Report (PDF) (389 pp, 9.03MB, About PDF). Based on a second interim remedial action selected in 2014 to address high levels of PCBs, EPA removed and replaced two manhole vaults and the contaminated backfill around them near the intersection of Bon Brae Street and Harper Avenue that EPA believed were serving as a continuing source of PCBs to the rest of the TMD system and the canals. During the remedial action construction work in 2015, EPA expanded the remedial action to include the removal and replacement of the 120-foot-long pipe between the two manholes after PCB-contaminated oil was observed flowing from the pipe.

For more information on site remedial and removal actions and community involvement activities see the site’s history timeline (PDF) (30 pp, 4.01MB, About PDF).




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What Is the Current Site Status?

EPA is conducting a time-critical cleanup this summer to remove PCB-contaminated soil from selected residential areas of the Ten-Mile Drain Superfund site. Time-critical cleanups are done when there is a risk of a pollutant or contaminant presenting an imminent and substantial danger to humans or the environment based on consultations with health agencies.

Read the fact sheet on this time-critical cleanup and the pending Superfund Remedial Program cleanup: EPA conducting cleanup at residential properties (PDF) (2pp, 357.6 K, About PDF)



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Sampling and Monitoring

MDEQ conducted a site investigation in July 2008 to document and obtain sufficient data to support listing the TMD site on the National Priorities List (NPL). EPA proposed the site for the NPL in March 2010 and finalized the site on the NPL in September 2010.

In April 2011, EPA began its source area investigation fieldwork in an attempt to find the source of the high PCB concentrations that were continuing to infiltrate the TMD system. The investigation focused on the sanitary sewer, gas, and water main utility corridors that crossed the TMD system utility corridor, which potentially could provide preferential pathways for PCB contamination to migrate into the TMD pipe. It also included additional sampling within the TMD system utility corridor.

In August 2011, EPA designed and conducted a sediment sampling project in the Lange and Revere Street canals. Based on the findings of this sampling, the highest PCB concentrations were found near the TMD system outfall and ranged from 100 ppm to 570 ppm. The PCB concentrations decreased with depth and distance from the outfall. 

In September 2011, EPA issued the first Interim Record of Decision (52 pp, 5.56 MB) for the TMD site to address the high concentrations of PCB-contaminated oil and sediments that continued to accumulate behind the weirs inside the TMD system.

EPA finalized its Source Area Investigation Report (389 pp, 9.03 MB) in January 2012. The results of the extensive investigation found significant concentrations of PCB-contaminated oil within the TMD system utility corridor backfill materials adjacent to four vaulted manhole locations: J01, M7179, M4335, and M7183. Importantly, only very low PCB concentrations were found in the backfill materials of the other utility corridors, ruling out the sanitary sewer, gas, and water main utility corridors as a source or conduit for the high PCB concentrations found at the TMD site. Additionally, PCBs were found in all depth intervals of the backfill materials near the intersection of Bon Brae Street and Harper Avenue, between Bon Brae and Lakeland Streets.

In August 2015, additional remedial investigation (RI) sampling was conducted focusing on the former Martin Drain (also known as the Old Martin Drain). The objective of the sampling was to determine if the former Martin Drain was previously a migration pathway for PCB contamination. Based on the overall sample results, EPA determined that the former Martin Drain was likely a limited historical pathway for PCB migration. The sampling is documented in the 2016 Remedial Investigation Report (1562 pp, 84.33 MB, About PDF) for the site.

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Emergency Response and Removal

Cleanup included removal actions, or short-term cleanups, to address immediate threats to human health and the environment under EPA’s Emergency Response and Removal Program. EPA dredged the canals in 2003-4 and cleaned out the underground storm sewer drain system. However, the contamination returned. As a result, in September 2010, EPA added the site to the National Priorities List for cleanup under the Superfund Program, which focuses on long-term cleanup projects.

EPA conducted another removal action in 2006. Most activities focused on seawall repairs, installing a cured-in-place pipe liner inside a portion of the drain, and adding monitoring wells. In addition, EPA removed contaminated soil from nine residential yards and public easements. Read more on EPA’s Response portal for St Clair Shores Drain, 2006-2007.

In 2010 EPA initiated another time-critical removal action, which included the following activities: high-pressure jet-vacuuming of the storm sewer system to remove PCB oil and sediment; off-site disposal of the PCB-contaminated materials; and installation of temporary weir structures in 15 manhole locations to allow sediment collection points. In addition, a total of 43 soil borings were installed at eleven properties – seven residential and four commercial. Read more on EPA’s Response portal for St Clair Shores PCB Drain #2, 2010.

In 2011 EPA conducted a removal action to remove PBC oil inside the drain. Absorbent snares were used to swipe and soak up the oil that had collected behind the weirs. A total of 6 of the 17 weirs required cleanout and one 55-gallon drum of soiled absorbent snares was collected for disposal.

In 2014 EPA completed a time-critical removal of PCB-contaminated soil from nine residential properties and one commercial property. PCBs were found in the soil at or near the ground surface at these locations that were above EPA’s removal action criteria. About 1,500 tons of soil were removed and disposed at an offsite facility located in Wayne, Michigan.

More information:

EPA Conducting Cleanup of PCBs Near Harper and Lakeland (PDF) (2 pp, 788.53KB, About PDF)

EPA Response portal for St. Clair Shores PCB Drain #2, 2014





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