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EPA wraps up $2 million Detroit cleanup

Release Date: 10/9/2008
Contact Information: Mick Hans, 312 353-5050, Dave Novak, 312-886-7478, Phillippa Cannon, (312) 353-6218,

No. 08-OPA157

(Chicago, Ill. - Oct. 9, 2008) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 next week wraps up a $2 million cleanup of ChemServe Corp., at 9505 Copland St., in Detroit's Delray neighborhood. The company manufactured dyes, soaps and drain cleaners.

The cleanup began in late April. On March 25, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, with assistance from the Michigan Attorney General's office, issued an imminent hazard order requiring ChemServe owner Aram Moloian to shut down operations and cleanup open and leaking drums. Between March 27 and April 1, EPA issued a cleanup order under the Superfund statute, the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth issued occupational safety and health citations, and the city of Detroit revoked ChemServe's operating permit.

The cleanup effort involved characterization, containment and proper disposal of about 3,000 drums and 5,000 smaller containers. Once properly sorted for disposal, the wastes included 21,000 gallons of chromium sludge, 6,300 gallons of caustic liquids, 5,000 gallons of solvents, 9 tons of caustic soda and a variety of potentially toxic, infectious and explosive lab chemicals.

The work was funded and managed by EPA's Grosse Ile-based Superfund emergency response team with assistance from Detroit Environmental Affairs and the Detroit Fire Marshall's Office. Under the Superfund statue,

owners and operators of companies that transport, store or dispose of hazardous waste may be liable for the cleanup costs. EPA is working with city, county and community stakeholders to complete the cleanup in a manner that will enable future reuse of the property.

EPA Region 5 is also overseeing cleanup at Dearborn Refining in Dearborn, Mich., another facility owned by Moloian. Utilizing Oil Pollution Act funding, EPA has spent more than $2.6 million at this site since 2006. This past summer companies that sent waste to Dearborn Refining have been conducting soil and water investigations that will lead to further cleanup in 2009.

Residents with questions about the ChemServe cleanup may contact EPA Community Involvement Coordinator Dave Novak, 800-621-8431, Ext. 67478, or An information repository with site documents has been established at the Campbell Branch Library, 8733 W. Vernor.

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