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Congressional District # 03


EPA ID# WID006183826
Last Updated: April, 2015

Site Description

The Northern Engraving Corporation (NEC) Superfund site is located at 803 South River Street in Sparta, Monroe County, Wisconsin. The 40-acre site is presently the location of a NEC manufacturing facility. NEC produces metal name plates, dials, and decorative trim for the automotive and appliance industries. Historical operations have included anodizing, chemical etching, and chromate conversion-coating processes. NEC's past wastewater treatment and disposal practices led to contamination of site soil, groundwater, and surface water.

The NEC facility is adjacent to residential and business areas and abuts the La Crosse River, which forms the southern boundary of the site. Domestic water is supplied to most residences in the city through a public distribution system. The closest private well is located approximately one-quarter mile from the NEC facility.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed the NEC site for the National Priorities List (NPL) in September 1983 and finalized the site on the NPL in September 1984.

Site Responsibility

The NEC site is being addressed through potentially responsible party (PRP) actions under state and federal oversight.

Threats and Contaminants

Analysis of on-site groundwater samples showed elevated levels of copper, fluoride, nickel, zinc, 1,1- dichloroethylene (DCE), trichloroethylene (TCE), and vinyl chloride. Soil samples, collected below the sludge lagoon, sludge dump site, and seepage pit, showed elevated levels of one or more of the above inorganic compounds. In addition, both the sludge lagoon and the sludge dump site contained quantities of metal hydroxide sludge. 

Exposure to these compounds through ingestion of contaminated soil or groundwater or by dermal contact may cause adverse health effects.

Cleanup Progress

The PRP conducted a remedial investigation and feasibility study (RI/FS) at the NEC site under a September 1985 administrative order on consent (AOC) with EPA and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR). The RI report identified four areas at the facility as sources of contamination. These areas included a sludge lagoon, a seepage pit, a sludge dump site, and a lagoon drainage ditch.

EPA signed a Record of Decision (ROD) on September 30, 1987, selecting a cleanup remedy for the site. The PRP had consented to implement the recommended remedy for the site under a September 1985 Administrative Order on Consent (AOC).  In 1988, the PRP excavated and consolidated 4,400 cubic yards of sludge and soil from certain areas of the site and placed the material in the sludge lagoon. A cap was installed over the sludge lagoon. The PRP also backfilled the seepage pit with native soil and implemented regular groundwater monitoring. A deed affidavit, which provided information on site contamination, remediation, and re-use restrictions, was recorded.

Cleanup goals have been achieved at the site. EPA deleted the site from the NPL in October 1997. In November 2000, WDNR and EPA approved the termination of groundwater monitoring and the abandonment of the majority of monitoring wells.

EPA and WDNR has completed five five-year reviews (FYR) for the site (June 1994, September 2000, August 2005, April 2010, and April 2015). The 2015 FYR report concluded that the remedy at the site was functioning as designed and remained protective of human health and the environment. All exposure threats at the site have been addressed through stabilizing and capping the contaminated soil and sludges, installing fencing, and implementing institutional controls (ICs). The 2015 FYR report recommended that EPA issue an Explanation of Significant Differences (ESD) to incorporate the requirement for ICs for the sludge lagoon area into the selected remedy. Although ICs are currently in place, the ROD did not require ICs for the sludge lagoon area. Also, a Long-Term Stewardship (LTS) Plan will be prepared to define actions needed to confirm the integrity of the remedy and to ensure ICs remain in place and continue to be effective. A description of the ICs for the site is below.

In May 2013, an Environmental Deed Restriction and Environmental Easement document ("restrictive covenant") was recorded at the Monroe County Recorder’s Office. The restrictive covenant, which applies to the 0.54-acre sludge lagoon, the 0.17-acre seepage pit, and underlying groundwater, protects the site remedy and prohibits the use of groundwater and well installation on the site. EPA issued a Site-wide Ready for Anticipated Use (SWRAU) determination in June 2013. The SWRAU verified that: (1) all cleanup goals in the ROD or other decision documents have been achieved for any media that may affect current and reasonably anticipated future land uses; and, (2) all ICs or other controls required in the ROD or identified as part of the response action have been implemented. NEC continues to maintain the property as well as the capped and covered areas.

Property Reuse

NEC continues to operate its manufacturing facility on the site. The areas addressed by the remedial actions are not being reused.


Remedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA
mary tierney (tierney.mary@epa.gov)
(312) 886-4785

Community Involvement Coordinator, U.S. EPA
susan pastor
(312) 353-1325




Site Profile Information

This profile provides you with information on EPA's cleanup progress at this Superfund site.


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