The Site is a warehouse which contains hundreds of thousands of batteries (lithium ion, nickel cadmium, alkaline, and lead acid) in containers stacked up within three large rooms.
Lithium-ion batteries are a safety and fire hazard because they contain a flammable electrolyte and may become pressurized when damaged, causing them to rupture. The threat of a spontaneous fire or explosion from an accidental short-circuit or rupture of a lithium-ion battery is high and will increase as the ambient temperature increase.
WDNR (Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources) became aware of this site when it conducted site visits and inspections beginning on March 8, 2018 and discovered the abandoned batteries being stored in this warehouse. On October 21, 2019 WDNR sent an email request for assistance to the EPA Emergency Removal Branch. WDNR indicated that a time critical removal is necessary and that the owner and operators of the warehouse do not appear to have the ability to pay for the cleanup of the batteries.
EPA OSCs and contractors conducted a removal site evaluation December 3-4, 2019. Among other activities, they inventoried the batteries and electronic waste abandoned at the Site to supplement a 2018 inspection conducted by WDNR.
In February 2020, an Action Memo was signed to remove batteries present at the Site. Batteries will be repackaged where necessary and all batteries will be transported and disposed of at an approved facility.