U.S. EPA discovers hazardous levels of acid waste at former RockTenn mill site in Otsego, Michigan; investigation will continue under Superfund law to identify activities, materials and parties involved, currently testing soil for PCBs

LOS ANGELES , December 16, 2011 () – The former RockTenn Co. specialty paperboard mill site in Otsego, Michigan, is being investigated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Superfund law, after the agency discovered hazardous levels of acid waste, reported mlive.com on Dec. 15.

The hazardous acid was found by the EPA in some of the 200 barrels and crates discovered recently at the site.

The EPA will use its Superfund authority to identify activities, materials and parties involved and why the hazardous waste was left, said Brian Kelly, on-scene coordinator for the agency.

Kelly was at the site on Wednesday collecting three soil samples that will be tested for the presence of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Results will be available by the end of January, said Kelly, mlive.com reported.

The EPA was called in Nov. 10, after Allegan County officials discovered 55-gallon drums and plastic bins containing unidentified materials, while they were visiting the site to assess its suitability for brownfield redevelopment.

It is unclear if the containers, which were found at different locations throughout the 32-acre site, are left over from RockTenn or were brought in by Cogswell Property LLC, reported mlive.com.

Cogswell Property, of Redford Township, Michigan, owned the vacant mill from 2006 to 2010, when it reverted to Allegan County for unpaid taxes. RockTenn shut down the mill in 2004.

The Michigan Dept. of Environmental Quality (DEQ) had received a complaint in 2008 that Cogswell Property had improperly drained the liquids from transformers on a paved area near the site, mlive.com reported.

Cogswell Property failed to do the testing DEQ requires to determine the type of oils present before it drained the transformers, said Ben Zimont, a DEQ environmental quality analyst.

The EPA is sending letters of inquiry to both Cogswell Property and RockTenn, regarding past activities at the site and the contaminants that might have been left behind, said Kelly.

Attempts to contact Cogswell Property for comment were unsuccessful, and the telephone number listed for the company has been disconnected, reported mlive.com.

The primary source of this article is mlive.com, Ann Arbor, Michigan, on Dec. 15, 2011.

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