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Balsam Road Abandoned Drums

Site Contact:
Andrew Maguire
On-Scene Coordinator


Site Location:
4500 Block Balsam Rd
Boulder Junction, WI 54512
NRC#: 1284585

On August 14, 2020, the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Indians reported the discovery of 14 abandoned drums on the side of a road and trail in a remote area near Lac du Flambeau, WI on tribal property. The drums are closed and don’t appear to be leaking, however, several are bulging and all of them are in rusty and in bad shape. There is some labels indicating hazardous substances may be in the drums, however, the contents are unknown.

The Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Indians Environmental Response Program responded to the incident after a report from a resident who lives nearby. They in turn contacted EPA Region 5 and the NRC requesting support to assess and remove the drums as there is a threat of release of hazardous substances into the environment and a risk of human exposure should there be a release. The tribe stated that weather could cause the drums to deteriorate causing a release, or they could be vandalized or tampered with also causing a release. WI Department of Natural Resources has been notified.

EPA, along with START and ERRS contractors, responded on August 16th , 2020. The crew safely opened the drums, sampled the contents, over-packed, and secured the drums at an off-site location. The drums will remain in the secure location until analytical results are received and the waste can be characterized into a waste profile. When transportation and disposal is arranged for the waste, a crew will re-mobilize to the site to ship the drums.

Due to Covid-19 concerns, increased awareness and adherence to social distancing is being practiced. Increased sanitation and distancing are occurring, including personnel wearing masks when interacting with each other on site. These special provisions, among others, are documented in the site specific Health and Safety Plan.