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Archive - Hazardous Waste Cleanup: Prairie Ronde Realty Company (National Copper Products) Facility - Dowagiac, Michigan

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The site at 415 East Prairie Ronde Road in Dowagiac, Michigan has been used for a many manufacturing purposes since 1916. Products included production of furnaces, copper tubing and air conditioners. Prairie Ronde Realty (PRR) bought the property in 1995 and leased it to National Copper Products which used it for manufacturing. In 2009, National Copper Products filed for bankruptcy. The building is currently leased to multiple entities for non-industrial uses.

Groundwater at the site is contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs), primarily trichloroethene (TCE).

  • The company has been pumping the groundwater for many years to contain movement of the polluted groundwater. As a result, the highest concentrations of TCE are found on the site.
  • The onsite concentrations have been further reduced by "enhanced reductive dechlorination" (ERD), a very effective way to speed up the natural degradation of the pollution.
  • Additional measures have been taken at the facility, such as the removal of polluted soil and soil vapor removal, to reduce the risk from pollution.

PRR entered into a RCRA 3008(h) Administrative Order on Consent (AOC) with EPA on June 2, 2006. PRR must implement site-wide corrective action at the site. EPA has been overseeing the environmental investigation at the 33-acre facility and will recommend proper remedies in those areas where contamination must be addressed.

In 2012, EPA collected indoor air samples and on-site sub-slab samples (from the space under the building foundation). Samples showed that TCE concentrations below the building foundation and within the indoor air beat EPA's screening levels. TCE easily evaporates as a gas when it is exposed to air or soil and migrates from below the building to inside the building, a process referred to as vapor intrusion. EPA directed PRR to lessen the immediate concentrations of TCE inside