Jump to main content.


Congressional District # 02


EPA ID# MID006031348
Last Updated: April, 2015

Site Description

The Peerless Plating Co. site is a one-acre abandoned electroplating facility, located in Muskegon. Electroplating operations were carried out at the plant from 1937 to 1983. Toxic, corrosive, reactive, and flammable chemicals were used in the electroplating process. The plant discharged its wastewater into three unlined seepage lagoons at the back of the facility. The wastewater contained heavy metals and were highly acidic or basic. When the plant closed in 1983, it was abandoned; plating solutions, raw materials, and drummed waste remained throughout the facility. In 1983, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources discovered that drains inside one of the buildings did not connect with the site's sanitary sewer or wastewater treatment system; instead, the wastes drained directly onto the ground. The state also discovered drums onsite. In 1983, the Michigan Department of Public Health detected hydrocyanic acid gas in the facility's atmosphere. The owner's failure to take immediate action to remove the gas prompted the state to contact the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to assist in reducing the threat to public health caused by the gas. 

The surrounding area is mixed residential, commercial, and light industrial development. Approximately 3,350 people live within a three-mile radius of the site. Seven schools, a hospital, and a correctional facility are located within one mile. The nearest residence is located within 600 feet of the site. Approximately 1,500 people obtain drinking water from private wells, operating within a three-mile radius. The city uses the shallow aquifer as the only groundwater alternative to the municipal water supply which draws from Lake Michigan. Little Black Creek flows to the southeast and empties into Mona Lake, two miles downstream from the site. EPA has found site-related contaminants in Little Black Creek. However, other contaminant sources exist upstream and have appeared to contribute to this contamination of Little Black Creek. 

Site Responsibility

This site was being addressed through federal actions.  Site operations for the groundwater contamination were turned over to the State of Michigan in September 2013. 

Additional enhancement to the current treatment system is expected to be implemented in the Summer of 2015.  This remedial enhancement will be a federal Lead.


Threats and Contaminants

The shallow groundwater and soil on-site contain heavy metals, including cadmium; volatile organic compounds, including trichloroethylene (TCE), benzene, and xylene; and cyanide. Sediments in streams near the site are contaminated with cadmium, arsenic, and lead. People could be exposed to hazardous chemicals from the site through direct contact with or accidental ingestion of contaminated groundwater, soil streams, and surface waters.

Cleanup Progress

In fall 1983, EPA removed 37,000 gallons of sulfuric, nitric, and chromic acids; cyanide plating solution; chromium plating solution; hydrochloric acid; and TCE.  EPA also drained waste lagoons; removed soil from the lagoon areas; cleaned the interior of the building; decontaminated vats, lines, and tanks; sealed sewer lines; neutralized cyanide and nitric acid onsite; and transported hazardous materials to a federally-regulated facility. In 1991, EPA removed approximately 2,500 gallons of liquids, containing heavy metals and cyanide, from an onsite tank. In addition, the potentially responsible parties eliminated immediate sources of contamination, encapsulated asbestos insulation from an oven, and fenced the site. 

In 1989, EPA began a study of the nature and extent of contamination at the site, focusing on the groundwater, soil, and the effect of site-related contaminants on surface waters. The study was completed in 1992 and a remedy was selected. The selected remedy called for the treatment of contaminated soils through in-situ vapor extraction of the organic compounds and stabilization of the inorganic compounds with the treated soils disposed of in an offsite, licensed hazardous waste facility. 

The design for this remedy was completed in 1996. Soil vapor extraction was completed, and approximately 7,500 tons of soil were removed. Construction of the groundwater treatment system has been completed, and the system has been operational since August 2001. In 2006 the groundwater pump and treat systems discharge point was changed from the Littel Black Creek to the local POTW.  Biannual groundwater monitoring continues to assure capture of the groundwater. 

A second 5 year review was completed for this site in 2007.  It found that the remedy in place remains protective of human health and the environment.  Groundwater cleanup continues. The 3rd 5 year reivew was completed in July 2012.  It also found that the remedy in place remained protective of human health and the environment.  The next 5 year review will be lead by the State of Michigan and is due in July 2017.  


Property Reuse

The property is currently not being used.


Remedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA
linda martin (martin.lindab@epa.gov)
(312) 886-3854

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.


Local Navigation

Jump to main content.