Quincy Smelter Site de-listed from Superfund

RIPLEY – The Quincy Smelter Site has finally been de-listed from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund and the people involved with it are glad to be able to move on with possible development of the site.

The smelter site on M-26 in Ripley was part of the Torch Lake Superfund Site, which was created in 1896.

Glenn Ekdahl, supervisor of site owners Franklin Township, said various clean-up and stabilization efforts have been going on at the site since the early 1990s.

“Off and on there was work going on,” he said.

Franklin Township took ownership of the site in 1999 after Quincy Development Corporation was unable to fulfill obligations for its development, Ekdahl said.

The federal government through the Department of Interior and the Housing and Urban Development agency has put about $2 million into building stabilization and asbestos removal, Ekdahl said.

“All the major buildings are in excellent shape,” he said.

One structure called the charcoal building still needs a roof, Ekdahl said, and another building, called the ice house, may or may not be salvageable.

“That one is in pretty rough shape,” he said.

In October 2012, the Franklin Township Board of Trustees, and the Keweenaw National Historical Park Advisory Commission came to an agreement for the sale of the site to the National Park Service for $335,000 plus the forgiveness of $11,437 in loans from the Advisory Commission to the township. The Advisory Commission made a down payment of $2,000 on October 22, 2012. They have until Sept. 30, 2015, to pay off the $335,000 sale price.

Scott See, executive director of the KNHP Advisory Commission, said having the smelter site de-listed from the Superfund will be helpful if the NPS does decide to go ahead with the purchase of the site.

“It’s something we think is an important milestone for the site,” he said.

Earlier this week, See said the NPS finished an environmental assessment of the site.

“It’s a step they need to go through to make certain the site meets their standards,” he said.

Ekdahl said the Torch Lake Political Action Committee, which includes Dave Jukuri, Dan Lorenzetti and Paul Lehto, was very instrumental in the effort to de-list the smelter site, as was township attorney, Dan Wisti.

The de-listing is going to help with the development of the smelter site, Ekdahl said.

“This is a very important step,” he said. “We’re one step closer to selling the property to the park service.”