Jump to main content.


Congressional District # 04


EPA ID# WIN000510222
Last Updated: March, 2015

Site Description

The Burnham Canal Site (the Site) is a Superfund Alternative Site (SAS) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Superfund Alternative Sites are sites that are eligible for EPA's National Priorities List (NPL) but are not listed. Cleanup of these sites follows the same process as listed sites.  Water from Burnham Canal flows into the Menomonee River, which in turn flows into Milwaukee Bay about two miles from the site. Burnham Canal is located southwest of the intersection of US Highways 94 and 43 in an industrial area. The site extends from a property at the head of the canal to the 11th Street Bridge approximately 1,500 feet east.

A metal recycling facility, foundry, automobile scrap yard and a trailer/container storage area are located adjacent to the canal.  From the early 1970's to the mid-1980's, a wire reclamation furnace operated at the western end of the canal.  Residue from the reclamation operation was rinsed off and carried heavy metals and other contaminants into the canal and canal sediments.   


Site Responsibility

This site is being addressed through potentially responsible party (PRP) actions with federal and state oversight.

Threats and Contaminants

Contaminants at the site include heavy metals (cadmium, copper, lead, nickel, silver and zinc) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).  Contaminants in soil could cause a risk to on-site workers and trespassers, and contaminants in sediment could cause a risk to benthic organisms. 


Cleanup Progress

Beginning in 2008, a potentially responsible party (PRP), Miller Compressing Company, conducted a remedial investigation and feasibility study (RI/FS) for the site under an agreement with EPA.  EPA, in consultation with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, selected a remedy for the site in 2011.  The selected remedy includes:

• Monitoring existing pavement to prevent direct contact to the contaminated soil beneath;
• Excavating contaminated soil and disposing of the soil off-site;
• Dredging an area of more highly-contaminated sediment at the west end of the canal and disposing of the sediment off-site.
• Placing a sand cover over the remaining contaminated sediments in the canal and armoring areas near the combined sewer outfalls to minimize erosion and cover disturbance.
• Implement use restrictions at the site to protect future users of the site. 

Beginning in 2011, the PRP performed an engineering design for the remedy.  EPA, in consultation with WDNR, approved the Final Design in 2013.  Since that time, the PRP and the City of Milwaukee have been investigating the potential for a beneficial reuse/wetlands project in the Burnham Canal and have been discussing with EPA and the State how this might be incorporated into the Superfund remedy for the site.


Property Reuse




Remedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA
leah evison (evison.leah@epa.gov)
(312) 886-2064



Local Navigation

Jump to main content.