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Buffum MKE Site

Site Information
  • Milwaukee, WI (Milwaukee County)
Contact Information

Community Involvement Coordinator
Susan Pastor (pastor.susan@epa.gov)
312-353-1325 or 800-621-8431, ext. 31325

On-Scene Coordinator
Kathy Halbur
(halbur.kathy@epa.gov)
920-662-5424

Environmental and Disease Control Specialist Milwaukee Health Department (MHD)
Lindor Schmidt
(leschmi@milwaukee.gov)
414-286-2359

Wisconsin Department of Health Services (WDHS)
Ryan Wozniak - Toxicologist
(ryan.wozniak@wisconsin.gov)
608-267-3227

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR)
Mark Drews - Hydrogeologist
(mark.drews@wisconsin.gov)
262-574-2146

City of Milwaukee
Karen Dettmer

RACM Senior Environmental
Project Engineer
414-286-5642
karen.dettmer@milwaukee.gov

Repositories

(where to view written records)

WDNR Service Center
2300 N. Dr. Martin Luther King Drive.

Contact OSC Kathy Halbur to view the file.

Background

The Buffum MKE site, 3456 N. Buffum St, is a half-acre lot in a mixed residential/ commercial/industrial area of Milwaukee.  The Beerline Trail, a 4,000-foot-long recreational trail, is located to the south and west. An abandoned 100-year-old, three-story building with a long history of industrial uses is located on the property. 

Over the years, the building housed a furniture (billiard table) factory, yeast manufacturer, feed and fertilizer supplier, animal research laboratory, chemical processor, soap manufacturer, industrial wheel manufacturer, plastics manufacturer, fiberglass fabricator, reclaimer and processor of scrap and electronic metals, and woodworking shop. The building has been vacant since 2008 and has fallen into disrepair.

Today, there are numerous abandoned containers of hazardous waste and many piles of hazardous ash in the building. A portion of the roof has collapsed causing stormwater leakage which has mixed with the waste.  Pollutants have been discharged to the sump and possibly sewer. There is also evidence of regular trespassing and illegal dumping.

Contaminants of concern include lead, mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), chlorinated solvents, waste oil, flammable and corrosive materials, and asbestos.

The city of Milwaukee secured the building and posted warning notices. EPA did a site “assessment” after the city requested assistance in fall 2013. Based on the results of that assessment, EPA agreed that a cleanup was warranted.

Site Updates | Latest Update | Fact Sheets | POLREPs || Technical Documents || Photos


You will need the free Adobe Reader to view some of the files on this page. See EPA's PDF page to learn more.

Site Updates

March 2015

Demolition of the site is underway and is expected to continue through mid-April.  Efforts will be made to control dust on the work site and air monitoring will be done regularly.  During the demolition, residents can expect increased truck traffic on Keefe Avenue and Holton and Buffum Streets as well as in the alleys surrounding the property, similar to last year. Access to the nearby Beerline Trail may also be restricted at times. Temporary “No Parking” signs may be posted to allow heavy equipment to move freely on and off the site.  Contractors will be working from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., weekdays. 

The demolition has been contracted by the city of Milwaukee.  Questions may be directed to Senior Environmental Project Engineer Karen Dettmer at 414-286-5642.
After the building is taken down, EPA will remove contaminated soil and then backfill and seed the property by mid-June.  The city of Milwaukee will pursue foreclosure after EPA completes its work.

EPA removed over 300 tons of solid waste, a dozen drums of liquid waste, and numerous cylinders from inside the building in summer 2014. Contaminants in the waste included lead, PCBs, asbestos, and mercury. “Non-hazardous” waste went to Orchard Ridge Landfill in Menomonee Falls, Wis. “Hazardous” waste was sent to appropriate treatment and disposal facilities across the country.

EPA was unable to address all of the hazards because of the building’s failing roof and poor structural conditions. The building was secured and storm water runoff was monitored until the demolition started.

EPA is working closely with the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee, Milwaukee Neighborhood Services, Milwaukee Fire Department, Milwaukee Health Department, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

Fact Sheets

Pollution / Situation Reports (POLREPS)

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