Little Lake Future


Little Lake Cleanup Facts

Who is the Little Lake Cleanup Team?
The Little Lake Cleanup Team was made up of those companies and individuals who were participating in the cleanup of Little Lake Butte des Morts. GW Partners, LLC was responsible for coordinating the effort. In 2009, the last year of the project, the supervising contractor for the work was J.F. Brennan Company. The team also included Foth and Van Dyke, STS Consultants, CH2M HILL and other sub-contractors from the Fox Valley and other parts of Wisconsin. The Little Lake Cleanup Team worked under the oversight of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR). The team worked to lower the level of PCBs in the lake and their exposure to fish.

What is GW Partners, LLC?

GW Partners, LLC consists of two companies, WTM I Company (formerly Wisconsin Tissue Mills in Menasha) and P.H. Glatfelter Company (former owner of the Bergstrom Mill in Neenah). It was formed as a result of the federal and state initiative to clean up Little Lake Butte des Morts.

How long did it take to complete the project?
The scope of this project was significant in size. Removal of lake sediment began in 2004 and the in-water portion of the project was completed in May 2009. With the help of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), restoration of the primary and Wild Ones staging areas has been completed.

How was the cleanup accomplished?

The majority of the cleanup project involved dredging sediment containing PCBs from the lake bottom and transporting it via a pipeline into very large mesh bags (called geotextile tubes) in our main staging area at 1475 N. Lake Street. These tubes were used to drain the water from the dredged lake bottom sediment. That water was then treated at our water treatment facility and then returned to the lake through a clean water return pipe. After the sediment had been dewatered in the tubes, it was placed into sealed dump trucks, which were then covered with tarps for transport to the disposal site.  All dredging work was completed in June 2008, and hauling of the last of the dewatered sediment was completed in January 2009.

The final phase of the cleanup project, which began in 2008 and was completed in May 2009, employed the U.S. EPA approved optimized remedy.  That optimized remedy incorporated armored caps (layers of gravel and sand) and additional sand cover to address remaining low PCB-concentrated sediments. For more information, see the Cover & Cap page.

What were staging areas?
Throughout most of the LLCT effort, the project operated with one staging area.  The primary staging area was located on the west side of Little Lake Butte des Morts and on the south side of the Hwy. 10/441 bridge off of North Lake Street. The primary staging area consisted of our water treatment building; several boat docks; the lined, gravel dewatering pad to hold the geotextile tubes; our on-shore equipment; gravel and sand supplies; and the project observation deck.  With the project now completed, that area is now being restored.

In 2008, a second staging area was put into operation to service equipment operating in the northern portions of the lake.  This staging area was located on Butte des Morts Beach Road and housed several of the project's pumps, pipelines and sand and gravel supplies used for the placement of sand cover and armored caps. The land for that staging area was leased for two years from Wild Ones Natural Landscapers and has been restored.

For more information, visit Staging Areas or Newsroom.

What was accomplished?
By the close of 2008, the Little Lake Cleanup Team had concluded all in-water dredging work associated with the project (the removal of approximately 370,000 cubic yards of PCB-impacted sediment) and completed work to address approximately 90 percent of the area designated to receive sand cover and approximately 70 percent of the area designated to receive an armored cap.

Beginning in mid-March 2009, LLCT equipment returned to the water and actual in-water work to place the remaining sand cover and armored cap began in mid-April 2009.  That work, and thus all cleanup work for the project, was completed in May 2009.  Approximately 260 acres of lake bottom with low-concentrations of PCBs were remediated with sand cover or armored caps.

What equipment was used for sand placement?
The equipment to place the sand cover and armored cap materials was similar in appearance to the dredging equipment that was used earlier in the project. The sand and armored cap placement process involved using spreaders, which worked in a manner similar to how snowplows spread salt and/or sand on roadways in the winter.

Where was the dredged sediment disposed of after dewatering?
Hauling of dewatered sediment from the main staging area began in December 2004 and concluded in January 2009. Most of the sediment was disposed of at Hickory Meadows landfill in Chilton, Wis. That landfill was designed and built to safely dispose of sediment such as that coming from Little Lake Butte des Morts. The landfill disposal option was selected by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the Record of Decision and approved by U.S. Federal Court in a Consent Decree.

What about recreational watercraft and fishermen?
Safe, efficient work is essential for this project to succeed, and safety was always a top priority. When in-water work was under way, equipment was marked with buoys and pipeline structure delineators, and markers were lighted at night. Throughout the project, we shared safety information with neighbors, area boaters and other interested parties.  Graphics featuring key safety markings were featured on the Safety Info. page, posted at area boat ramps and made available through marinas, fishing clubs and bait shops. While safety will always be of utmost importance, it was also important to note that everyone had access to Little Lake Butte des Morts throughout the course of the project. 

Were there any noise, truck traffic, or lighting concerns?

Our team worked diligently to minimize potential noise and lighting issues. The dredges and spreaders used were among the most technologically advanced on the water today. The on-site water treatment building was built to contain the majority of sound within its walls. Trucks that loaded and transported sediment and those that delivered sand and gravel materials made noise, but the team did what it could to keep the activity at a reasonable level for neighbors. Also, a large tree line and a soil stockpile were in place at the first staging area and a soil stockpile was strategically located at the southern end of the second staging area to help serve as noise and light barriers for nearby residents. The Little Lake Cleanup Team reached out to lakefront property owners and others to discuss any concerns that our neighbors might have had and addressed their questions throughout the course of the project. Again, our goal was to get the job done safely and as efficiently as possible, so everyone could enjoy Little Lake Butte des Morts now, and for years to come.

Contact Information
Little Lake Cleanup Team
Kris Naidl - Representative
Web site:
This above information on the Little Lake Butte des Morts project was compiled by GW Partners, LLC. For additional information on the entire Fox River PCB project, please contact:

Environmental Protection Agency
Susan Pastor - Public Affairs Specialist
1-800-621-8431 ext. 31325

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Gregory Swanson - Natural Resources Educator