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The Bronson Reel Co. began manufacturing fishing reels in 1928 at 505 N. Douglas St. in Bronson, MI. Employees made their own dyes, tools and fixtures in a machine shop. They also did their own plating and anodizing. In 1963, the company was purchased by Bronson Specialties. Production of fishing reels declined and was discontinued in 1968. Although plating operations stopped at that time, metal tooling and other manufacturing operations continued until the early 1990s.

Several local industries discharged plating and other waste into seepage lagoons between 1939 and 1981. An industrial sewer system, owned and maintained by the city of Bronson, was used to transport plating waste to lagoons at the northeast and northwest ends of the North Bronson Industrial Area (NBIA) site. Because of these practices, high levels of heavy metals, PCBs, and volatile organic compounds have been found in private and groundwater monitoring wells, soil, lagoon sludge and sediment.

The Superfund site consists of two lagoon areas and a county drain which run adjacent to the lagoons (referred to as Operable Unit 1 of the NBIA site) and groundwater and an industrial sewer (referred to as Operable Unit 2 for the NBIA site). Although the lagoons are no longer used for waste disposal, they contain about 50,000 cubic yards of heavy metal sludge.

Although not officially on the Superfund list, a separate upstream site, known as the North Bronson Former Facilities (NBFF) site, was identified as three additional sources of soil and groundwater contamination.  They are known as the Former Bronson Feel Facility, Former L.A. Darling Facility, and Former Scott Fetzer Facility.

North Bronson Former Facilities

Former Bronson Reel Facility

A Record of Decision (ROD) issued September 2006 requires

Former L.A. Darling Facility

This facility contains metal and solvent contamination in its soil and groundwater. The site Potentially Responsible Party (PRP) completed the Remedial Investigation (RI) Report in 2006 and submitted a draft Feasibility Study (FS) for EPA review in fall 2006. If not cleaned up, the contamination in the underground water can travel off-site and cause vapor intrusion problems. EPA has been monitoring properties near the former L.A. Darling site and the adjacent former Scott Fetzer property. The cleanup goal for the former L.A. Darling property is to reduce chemical levels in the soil to concentrations acceptable for future industrial redevelopment. The goal for the underground water supply is to stop contaminated ground water from moving beyond the property boundary and ultimately clean it to a level that is safe for drinking and other uses.

Former Scott Fetzer Facility

The former Scott Fetzer facility also contains metal and solvent contamination in its soil and groundwater. As with the L.A. Darling facility, there are concerns with the possible vapor intrusion from contaminated groundwater originating from the former Scott Fetzer facility.

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