ST. LOUIS, Mich. — The Environmental Protection Agency plans to begin cleanup work at a central Michigan Superfund site in January.

The first phase of cleanup at the Velsicol Chemical plant site in St. Louis, Michigan, is expected to cost $9.7 million and take about 18 months, The Morning Sun reported .

The area has volatile organic chemicals in the ground, according to agency officials. Michigan Chemical and Velsicol Chemical left behind DDT, polybrominated biphenyls and other poisons when they moved out of the area. Groundwater also is contaminated from pollutants under and near the site.

The cleanup efforts will address less than 2 acres of the site. Workers will begin by heating the ground, treating toxic chemicals and capturing the fumes or gases. The cleanup process is expected to be uneventful, EPA officials said.

The EPA hired an engineering consultant called CH2M Hill to help at the site. The company will use air monitoring gadgets at the site to check for leaks, said Theo Von Wallmenich, a senior project manager with the company. The system is designed to monitor pressure and is capable of immediately shutting itself down if needed.

Three operators will also live nearby and be able to respond to any problems, he said.

“Everything is backed up,” Von Wallmenich said. “Operators will be able to respond to the upset.”

Emergency evacuation plans are also being created, though Von Wallmenich said such a scenario is unlikely.

“We don’t want to scare anyone,” he said. “(Residents) should not be concerned that there would be an evacuation.”


Information from: Morning Sun, http://www.themorningsun.com/