FORMER BURN AREA

Also known as the Burn Pit, and the Golf Course Superfund Site, what is now designated the Former Burn Area is under review by both EPA and ATSDR (Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry), which is a branch of CDC (Centers for Disease Control) in Atlanta. The Former Burn Area is a separate superfund site, located across the Pine River from the Velsicol Superfund Site at the end of Prospect Street, and was the place where the chemical plant burned toxic waste. Some of the waste was trucked around to the site, and much of it was liquid that ran in a large pipe from the chemical site across the river to the burn pit. Each week the waste was set on fire, and the smoke billowed up and passed over St. Louis and points east.

The recently released ATSDR Public Health Assessment, prepared by the Michigan Department of Community Health, determined that much of the waste left in the soil was not a danger to residents, since most people didn't live or work near the site. They also determined that the contaminants from the soil are migrating into the groundwater, which could pose a health danger in the future. Their recommendation is that groundwater monitoring should continue at the site.

The Pine River Superfund Citizen Task Force was asked to comment on the report. Our letter said in part, "We note that the report recommends continued monitoring of the site. In contrast, we advocate a complete and comprehensive cleanup of the site, including the surface soils and the saturated layer that are allowing contaminants to migrate into the groundwater."EPA has assigned a Remedial Project Manager to the site, and data is being gathered to determine a course of action at the site.