Velsicol Chemical Plant

Velsicol — After

Velsicol — Near completion of project (October 2005)

Velsicol — Before

Velsicol — During operation (1936-1978)

Location: St. Louis, Mich.
Project Owner: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

More than 1 million tons — the equivalent of twice the weight of the tallest building in the world — of sediment contaminated with DDT and other dangerous chemicals were removed from a chemical plant site bordering a residential area and safely disposed of.

National Salvage & Service Corporation remediated the 52-acre former site of a Velsicol Chemical plant, a Superfund site that at one time manufactured and distributed DDT, among other chemicals. Because the plant had several outlets into the Pine River, these chemicals made their way into and contaminated the primary water resource for St. Louis, Mich.

National first segregated the river into sections using more than 3,000 feet of sheet piling, dewatering and stabilizing one section of sediment at a time. Because the sediment was still so watery when it was excavated, National used pelletized quicklime to create a heating process that drove moisture from the soil. National also designed and installed a collection system to capture the contamination prior to entering the river. National excavated more than 1 million tons of sediment and restored the riverbank with no adverse effects on the local community.

The project required, among other challenges, the dewatering of previously remediated cells and the construction of new haul roads across city streets and a causeway that would allow the river to continue flowing and not impact water levels. National coordinated on a daily basis with owners of dams both upstream and downstream to prevent flooding at the jobsite. Work could only be completed between July and November due to constraints of the water treatment plant, so National developed efficient work methods to complete the project under these specifications.

During this eight-year project, National worked diligently to comply with EPA regulations and to make sure nearby residential areas and a public park were unaffected by the project by developing an extensive dust suppression system to prevent lime dust from migrating into the adjacent neighborhood and developing relationships with nearby property owners and community action groups.

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