Superfund Information Systems: Site Profile

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About the Superfund Redevelopment Initiative

This nationally coordinated effort provides EPA and its partners with a process to return Superfund sites to productive use. Learn more at Superfund Redevelopment Initiative.

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Redevelopment at the Site

The 124-acre Mill Creek Dump Superfund site is located in Erie, Pennsylvania. The site includes 84 acres of former freshwater wetlands and a 40-acre strip of land next to Conrail railroad tracks. For 40 years, the site operated as an industrial and municipal dump, as well as an unpermitted dump area. The site accepted foundry sands, solvents, waste oils, and other industrial and municipal wastes, filling all but 4 acres of the site. On-site practices resulted in the contamination of soil, sediments and groundwater. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources closed the dump in 1981. EPA placed the site on the Superfund program’s National Priorities List (NPL) in 1984. Cleanup activities began in 1987, including construction of a groundwater treatment system, soil cap and a flood retention basin; and replacement of lost wetland habitat areas. In 1996, the site’s potentially responsible parties (PRPs) and Millcreek Township worked with EPA to modify the cap design to allow for development of a golf course over the cap. In 1998, the PRPs proposed the construction of 8 acres of wetlands next to the site to compensate for habitat lost in the cleanup. Construction of the golf course, named the Millcreek Golf and Learning Center, concluded in 2001. PRPs donated the popular 9-hole golf course and driving range property to Millcreek Township in 2002. In 2011 the golf course was closed to allow construction of the Erie International Airport runway expansion project. The project required 12 acres of the cap and golf course area for the runway expansion and for easements. The Airport runway was completed and opened in November 2012, and the driving range portion of the golf center reopened in August 2014. However, the golf course needs to be reconfigured to replace holes lost to the runway project.

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Economic Activity at the Site

As of December 2019, EPA had data on one on-site business. This business employed 20 people and generated an estimated $1,448,000 in annual sales revenue. View additional information about redevelopment economics at Superfund sites.

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Activity and Use Limitations

At this site, activity and use limitations that EPA calls institutional controls are in place. Institutional controls play an important role in site remedies because they reduce exposure to contamination by limiting land or resource use. They also guide human behavior. For instance, zoning restrictions prevent land uses – such as residential uses – that are not consistent with the level of cleanup. For more background, see Institutional Controls.

The Institutional Controls (ICs) at the Site were implemented by PADEP and Millcreek Township.  ICs at the Site to restrict residential use of the property and any activities that would adversely affect or interfere with the integrity and protectiveness of the 12-inch soil are addressed and implemented by an August 13, 2010 Consent Order and Agreement among PADEP, Millcreek Township and the Erie Regional Airport Authority (2010 Agreement).  The 2010 Agreement requires the Township to “operate and maintain the Township-owned parcels within the Site for public recreation and public benefit in perpetuity.”  The township cannot revise its inspection and maintenance obligations “except under express, prior written approval by the Department (PADEP)”.  

Millcreek Township also enforces an ordinance ensuring that contaminated groundwater is not used for potable purposes.  (Millcreek Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance 2006-9, Sections 9.03.1G and 1.8). While Millcreek Township is responsible for enforcement of this ordinance, EPA and PADEP conduct oversight of the Site to ensure that the ICs remain in place. EPA will continue to rely on ICs, as necessary, to prevent potential future consumptive use of the groundwater until groundwater is restored to drinking water standards.

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