State of Wisconsin – Department of Natural Resources ~ Fox River PCB Clean-Up

Menasha, Wisconsin

Project Description

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) awarded the contract for oversight of the Fox River PCB cleanup project to the Boldt team. Boldt's reputation in the region and the technical and project management strengths of our team contributed to this decision. This is a WDNR-led project, with guidance from the U.S. EPA, for remediation of environmental impact resulting from discharge of PCBs to the river. The oversight team, led by Boldt Technical Services, provides both technical and project management oversight support to the agencies in overseeing the planning and implementation of the remediation efforts.

Between 1954 and 1971, paper companies using polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) to make carbonless copy paper discharged nearly 700,000 pounds of these chemicals into the Fox River. The potentially hazardous effects of PCBs were unknown until the early 1970's and their use was finally outlawed by the federal government in 1976.

The approach for cleanup is to hydraulically dredge sediment from the river and transport it to an approved landfill. Landfills meet rigorous federal requirements to accept PCB-contaminated sediment and are a safe and proven method. Burying the contaminated sediment in a landfill will permanently remove the PCBs from the river environment.

As part of the development efforts, design alternatives are also being considered, including options such as the capping of sediments in the river and vitrification. In situ (meaning "in place") capping is the placement of a covering or cap over an area of contaminated sediment. Vitrification is a relatively new technology that involves melting sediment at very high temperatures and turning it into an inert glassy material, which can then be used in road construction projects and in the making of concrete and shingles.

The Fox River cleanup is being accomplished in a collaborative fashion with all the responsible parties and agency teams working together. The objective of the Boldt oversight team’s efforts are to support the agency in accomplishing the overall project goals by providing input and assisting in monitoring project activities at the level the agency requires to confirm the cleanup objectives are met. The Boldt team is a facilitator of this collaborative approach among the many agencies, paper companies and paper company consultants involved.

The oversight team’s role includes:

  • Providing feedback to the group on lessons learned from a number of PCB cleanup projects on both the east and the west coast

  • Providing technical input and support for evaluation of alternative remedies to handle river sediments

  • Confirming design consultants’ cost estimates and proposed schedules

  • Reviewing input on the dredging and sampling activities

  • Providing update status reports to government officials.

For more information on this project, go to: http://www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/

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Boldt's Role

Oversight team

Key Points

  • Boldt's reputation in the region and the technical and project management strengths of our team contributed to the awarding of this project.
  • Boldt provided both technical and project management oversight support to the agencies in overseeing the planning and implementation of the remediation efforts.