United States
                 Environmental Protection
                             Enforcement and
                             Compliance Assurance
EPA 520-F-95-002
    Winter 1995
Superfund  At Work
Hazardous Waste Cleanup Efforts Nationwide
   Liquid Disposal, Inc.
       Site Profile
 Site Description;
 Industrial incinerator and disposal

 Site Size: 7 acres

 Primary Contaminants:
 Volatile organic compounds
 {VOCs}, polycnlortnated biphenyls
 |PCBs), and heavy metals

 Potential Range of Health Effects:
 central nervous system disorders
 and a wide variety of cancers

 Nearby Population Affected:
 54,000 people within three miles

 Ecological Concerns:
 Clinton River, surrounding wetlands,
 and state parks

 Year Listed on NPL: 1383

 EPA Region: 5

 State: Michigan

 Congressional District: 12
Despite urban runoff, the Clinton River supports a wide variety of wildlife,
including the Carp. Venerated in Asian cultures, the fish is a symbol of
wealth and longevity.
           Success in Brief

           Strong, Effective Enforcement

           Brings Michigan Industries

           To The Table

             Imagine trying to round up 850 parties who sent hazardous
           wastes to a poorly-managed incineration facility over a 14-year
           period.  Convincing them to put down almost $30 million dollars
           to clean up the Liquid Disposal, Inc. site took real ingenuity and
           dogged determination. An effort of this magnitude was possible
           because of flexible enforcement provisions written into the
           Superfund law.
             With help from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources,
           the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) supervised an
           efficient cleanup of dangerously mixed wastes from paint thinners
           to cyanide.  EPA stabilized the site by removing two million
           gallons of flammable liquids and sludges from lagoons and pits.
           Waste contributors then distributed the burden of a long-term
           remediation by signing six separate settlements for cost recovery
           and construction activities.
             These cooperative efforts offered a unique opportunity to change
           the way some industries viewed the environment and made many
                                       think twice about appropriate
                                       disposal of hazardous wastes.
                                       The Site Today

                                         Construction activities are
                                       under way to immobilize con-
                                       taminants from soil beneath a
                                       grass-covered, protective cap.
                                       The only visual reminder that
                                       will remain in the woods is a
                                       permanent, posted fence. Many
                                       local residents are unaware that
                                       Superfund worked so diligently
                                       behind the scenes for so long to
                                       protect the environment; the few
                                       that do appreciate the migrating
                                       geese even more.

                   Superfund At Work   Liquid Disposal, Inc., Macomb County,
                                Winter 1995
  The seven-acre Liquid
Disposal, Inc. (LDI) hazard-
ous waste site is about 20
miles north of Detroit in
Macomb County, Michigan.
The site is bordered by wet-
lands, the Clinton River, an
auto auction, and an auto
junkyard. The Rochester-
Utica State Recreational Area
and the Shadbush Tract Na-
ture Study Area are within
one mile of the site. Approxi-
mately 54,000 people live
within three miles; an esti-
mated 3,500 rely on ground
water for household use.
  LDI went into business  as
a commercial liquid waste
incineration facility, accepting
A Site Snapshot

wastes from major automobile
manufacturers, chemical com-
panies, and other industries
around the state. Site facilties
included an ash pit, scrubber
and oil lagoons, surface and
underground storage tanks, and
an assortment of drums.
  The incinerator was designed
to handle a myriad of volatile
organic substances, including
paint thinners, contaminated
oils and greases, and other
industrial wastes. LDI, how-
ever, accepted wastes contain-
ing contaminants of all descrip-
tions and stored them indis-
criminately in lagoons, drums,
and tanks over the entire site.
  As a result, soil and ground
           water were contaminated
           with volatile organic com-
           pounds (VOCs), polychlori-
           nated biphenyls (PCBs),
           polycyclic aromatic hydrocar-
           bons (PAHs), and numerous
           heavy metals, including
           barium, cadmium, and lead.
             Contamination from the
           site threatened the Clinton
           River and surrounding
           wetlands; one accidental spill
           contaminated soil at the
           Rochester-Utica State Recre-
           ational Area.
             LDI was cited repeatedly
           for malodorous emissions and
           poor housekeeping, but these
           warnings only led to tempo-
           rary corrections.
   Liquid Disposal, Inc.
                > SPA completes removal of surface wastes
  LDI operates storage and
  *   *.*-.**    .***,..."


                    Superfund At Work  Liquid Disposal, Inc., Macomb County, I
                                                Winter 1995
 From Economic Stimulus To Environmental Scourge
  Canadian-owned LDI was
the largest commercial incinera-
tor in Michigan when opera-
tions began in 1968. State
officials hoped LDI would
provide an economic boom for
Macomb County, but during
the next 14 years, LDI traded
jobs and taxes for pollution.
  LDI accepted more than 69
million gallons of liquid wastes,
some containing chromium and
cyanide which the incinerator
couldn't burn efficiently. Air
pollution went unmonitored
and combustion residuals
seeped from the ash pit and
scrubber lagoons. Materials
stored in tanks, drums, and oil
pits leaked into soil and ground
water and eventually migrated
off site.
                 Worker Deaths Force Closure
                   Area residents had often
                 complained to the Michigan
                        Liquid Disposal,
                        Inc. Site
                        Macomb County,
                 Department of Natural Re-
                 sources (MDNR) about noxious
                 odors and fine dust in the air
                 causing respiratory ailments.
                 Tempers flared in January, 1982
                 after two employees were killed
and several others were hospi-
talized. Workers unwittingly
transferred chemicals from a
truck to a tank, causing an
eruption of lethal hydrogen
sulfide gas. A month after the
accident, a county court closed
the incinerator down. Creditors
forced LDI into bankruptcy and
the facility folded permanently
in May, 1982.

New Superfund Law
Provides Assistance
  Two years earlier, Congress
had enacted the Comprehensive
Environmental Response,
Compensation, and Liability
Act of 1980. This law estab-
lished a federal program to
solve the complex problems
associated with improper haz-
settlements with
major contributor?
for cart out and

                     Superfund At Work   Liquid Disposal, Inc , Macomb County,
                                Winter 1995
ardous waste disposal.  Instead
of using taxpayer dollars, EPA
uses a "Superfund" derived
from exise taxes on commercial
feedstocks and crude oil.  EPA
can remediate abandoned sites
but makes every effort to locate
and negotiate cleanup by
responsible parties.

  No taxpayer dollars are
    in the "Superfund"

  In May 1982, MDNR asked
EPA to assist in soil cleanup
efforts at the Rochester-Utica
State Recreational Area. PCB-
tainted oils had spread from
LDI waste lagoons that over-
flowed from heavy rains.  EPA
removed about 200 gallons of
oil and 750 cubic yards of
fouled sediment.
  That August, EPA fenced the
site, lowered the level of lagoon
wastes by 163,000 gallons,
removed liquids from the
incinerator pit, and constructed
a leachate collection system to
keep pollutants from migrating
off site.
  While conducting other
stabilizing efforts, a fire broke
out in one of the lagoons in the
summer of 1983, causing the
evacuation of 2,000 local resi-
dents.  The volatility of the site
mixtures prompted EPA to
include LDI on the National
Priorities List (NPL) of sites
requiring comprehensive
  Between 1984 and 1986, EPA
removed approximately two
million gallons of liquid waste
and 2,800 cubic yards of heavy
metal sludge from the waste oil
lagoons and shipped them to
approved disposal facilities. An
additional 200 drums littered
around the site were incinerated
or landfilled properly.

Final Cleanup Plans
  During this time, MDNR
began a series of studies in May
1984 identifying the quantities
of various pollutants and reme-
dial options.  MDNR presented
findings to EPA in 1985. With
the completion of removal
actions, EPA designed a com-
prehensive plan for public
comment. Public meetings
were held in 1987 concurrent
with the start of negotiations
with the waste contributors.
  The volatility of the site
 prompted EPA to include
    LDI on the National
        Priorities List

  Construction activities began
in the spring of 1988 to collect
debris, equipment, and dis-
mantled facility remnants.
Using a solidification process,
contaminated materials were
immobilized with cement and
buried underground between
impermeable walls.  Crews will
cover the surface with a multi-
layer protective cap and clean
fill, then seed for grass. Secu-
rity fencing permanently sets
the site aside because of limited
future use possibilities. These
construction activities will be
completed in the fall
of 1995.

EPA Settles with Waste
   EPA identified more than 850
parties who contributed hazard-
ous wastes to the LDI site over
the years.  Six different settle-
ments signed between 1987 and
1991  resolved the liability of
hundreds  of small (de minimis)
generators.  Another 35 major
companies designed and con-
structed the soil cleanup worth
an estimated $22.5 million.
   Through successful negotia-
tions, EPA recovered $7.5
million in costs incurred for
investigations and early re-
moval actions.

EPA Involves Residents
   Community participation is
an important part of every
Superfund cleanup. By provid-
ing information about site
hazards and the selected rem-
edy,  EPA builds community
support.  Public meetings and
comment periods ensure the
inclusion of residents' input
into decisions. Community

             continued on page 6

                    Superfund At Work    Liquid Disposal, Inc., Macomb County, I
                                   Winter 1995
Liquid Disposal, Inc. Site
   Macomb County, Ml
       not to scale
Following the deaths of two workers, no one was allowed on the property to
photograph the facility. This schematic shows the lagoons, drums, and tanks
spread over the seven-acre site.
                                              standing water in
                                                incinerator pit
        liquid waste
                                          barrels stacked
                                            in 1,2 and 3

                     Superfund At Work    Liquid Disposal, Inc., Macomb County, I
                                Winter 1995
continued from page 4

Involvement Coordinators
provide regular progress reports
from the Site Manager and

EPA Builds Community
  At the LDI site, the MDNR
formed a Citizens Information
Committee to disseminate
information to areas residents
and county officials, including a
telephone response center.
Dedicated efforts directed at the
state and local level succeeded
in reaching citizens who later
expressed satisfaction with the
Superfund process.
  CERCLA is a law that restores
the environment and protects
                     Success at
           Liquid Disposal,  Inc.
    EPA reached agreements
  with more than 850 parties to
  rectify improper hazardous
  waste disposal practices.
  Many of the small contribu-
  tors signed de minimis settle-
  ments, preventing third-party
  lawsuits and unnecessary
  legal fees. The Agency
  worked closely with state
  officials to oversee a coopera-
communities through smart,
common sense strategies, pre-
venting pollution in the future.
tive cleanup effort using
private money. Residents and
local officials participated in
the remedy selection and
distributed progress reports at
a telephone and information
center. And most importantly,
local wetlands and watersheds
have been protected from
toxic chemicals for future
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