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Congressional District # 02


EPA ID# MID020883609
Last Updated: March, 2012

Site Description

The Northernaire Plating Company (Northernaire) site is located within the Cadillac Industrial Park, which covers approximately a square mile along the northern border of the city of Cadillac, Wexford Country, Michigan. Northernaire was a small electroplating facility that operated on 13 acres of land in the southwest portion of the industrial park. From 1971 to 1981, Northernaire did custom chromium and nickel plating work on metal parts. Improper waste handling and faulty sewer systems led to the release of hexavalent chromium and cadmium into surrounding soils and groundwater.

The groundwater contamination from the Northernaire site is commingled with that from other facilities in the industrial park, including another facility designated as a National Priorities List (NPL) site, Kysor Industrial Corporation. Impacted groundwater has migrated northward toward a residential area north of the industrial park in Haring Township. Contamination in the groundwater has also migrated downward, impacting both the shallow and intermediate aquifer in the vicinity of the site. The municipal well field for the city of Cadillac draws water from the deep bedrock aquifer and has not been affected by contamination from the Northernaire site.


Site Responsibility

This site has been addressed through federal, state, and potentially responsible parties' actions.

Threats and Contaminants

Groundwater was contaminated with heavy metals such as cadmium and chromium. Prior to cleanup, soil was contaminated with heavy metals and sediment was contaminated with cadmium, chromium, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).  People who trespassed on the site and accidentally ingested or came into direct contact with contaminated soil or sediment may have been exposed to pollutants.  Drinking or coming into direct contact with contaminated groundwater may pose a health threat.  Due to implemented remedial actions, there is no remaining groundwater contamination associated with the Northernaire site.

Cleanup Progress

In 1983, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) removed drums, vats, and other containers from the Northernaire building and excavated approximately 120 feet of leaking sewer line outside the building. The state of Michigan completed the cleanup of the source area using federal funds in 1988. The state's cleanup action included removing over 1,000 cubic yards of soils, additional sewer piping, and a portion of the building floor. 

Following the groundwater investigation by the state of Michigan and completion of the cleanup design by potentially responsible parties (PRPs) under a U.S. EPA order in 1995, U.S. EPA issued three Administrative Orders for Remedial Action to six industrial and individual PRPs. These orders addressed groundwater cleanup of the Northernaire site in combination with cleanup of the groundwater beneath the Kysor Industrial site.

Cleanup activities included construction of an 18-well groundwater extraction system, a groundwater treatment system, including air stripping and carbon adsorption; associated collection and discharge piping; a soil vapor extraction system with a vapor phase carbon adsorption for contaminated soils at the Kysor Industrial site; and removal of approximately 1,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil at another property in the industrial park. All construction was completed by September 1996.

Currently, the groundwater system is treating approximately two-million gallons of water per day for discharge to the Clam River. The system continues to operate as designed. The third five-year review report for the Northernaire site was completed in September 2005 and determined that the site remedy remains protective of human health and the environment in the short term. The review stated that long-term protectiveness of the remedy would not be achieved until institutional controls (ICs) were implemented to restrict the installation and use of private wells in Haring Township. In addition, the recommendations called for confirming that the extraction system captured contaminated groundwater from the Cadillac Industrial Park, and achieving cleanup goals within the groundwater plume.

All groundwater monitoring wells tested for chromium have been in compliance with the required target cleanup level (TCL) of 50 parts-per-billion for hexavalent chromium since at least May 2001. The effluent discharge to the Clam River has also been in compliance since that time. Since 1996, groundwater entering and exiting the groundwater pump-and-treat system have also been below 50 ppb for chromium.

In September 2010, U.S. EPA completed the fourth five-year review for the Northernaire Plating site. The data review confirmed that all groundwater monitoring wells tested for chromium remained in compliance with the TCL. The location and rates of the groundwater extraction wells, which will continue to operate for the nearby Kysor Industrial site VOC contamination, will ensure that any remnants of a chromium plume will not migrate beyond the groundwater extraction and treatment system.

The review found that the remedy has achieved the remedial action objectives for the site and no ICs are necessary. The remedy is therefore protective in both the short and long term.  No future five-year reviews will be conducted at the site.  U.S. EPA is planning to delist the site from the National Priorities List by September 2014.

Property Reuse

In January 2008 EPA determined that the Northernaire site was ready for reuse and that it was not necessary to place ICs on the property.  However, the former chromium plume from the Northernaire site was located in the same area of the Cadillac Industrial Park as the Kysor Industrial Corporation site. The groundwater in this area is contaminated with VOCs from the Kysor site.

The majority of facilities in the Cadillac Industrial Park are still operating and future use of these properties is predicted to be industrial. Certain areas of the Cadillac Industrial Park, such as along Leeson Avenue, contain commercial establishments. No recent activities have occurred concerning property reuse.


Remedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA
sheila sullivan (sullivan.sheila@epa.gov)
(312) 886-5251

Community Involvement Coordinator, U.S. EPA
cheryl allen
(312) 353-6196




Site Profile Information

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


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