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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

Environmental and Disease Control Specialist Milwaukee Health Department (MHD)
Lindor Schmidt

Wisconsin Department of Health Services (WDHS)
Ryan Wozniak - Toxicologist

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR)
Mark Drews - Hydrogeologist

City of Milwaukee
Karen Dettmer

RACM Senior Environmental
Project Engineer


(where to view written records)

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

Contact OSC Kathy Halbur to view the file.


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

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Site Updates

May 2015

EPA’s cleanup of the Buffum MKE site has been completed with no further action anticipated.

It took nearly a year to clear abandoned waste from inside the building on site, demolish that building, remove contaminated soil, and then backfill and seed the property. EPA contractors left the area and all of their equipment was removed by May 14. Normal traffic flow resumed and parking restrictions were lifted.

From June 2014 to May 2015, EPA removed over 300 tons of solid waste, a dozen drums of liquid waste, and numerous cylinders from inside the building. 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. The demolition was contracted by the city of Milwaukee. Questions may be directed to Senior Environmental Project Engineer Karen Dettmer at 414-286-5642.

The city of Milwaukee may pursue foreclosure now that the cleanup has been completed.

EPA worked 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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Technical Documents

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