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Congressional District # 15


EPA ID# MID084566900
Last Updated: July, 2012

Site Description

The Novaco Industries site is the former location of a tool and die manufacturing and repair facility. Around 1979, a tank of chromic acid used for in plating operations developed a leak and an unknown quantity was spilled onto the ground.  By the early 1980s, chromium was detected in both the Novaco Industries water supply well and in a nearby Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post well. Approximately 85 residences and businesses are located within one-half mile of the site.  The site was recommended to be placed on the National Priorities List (NPL). The former Novaco Industries firm declared bankruptcy.

During the remedial investigation, chromium levels in the groundwater were high enough to warrant selection of a pump and treat remedy.  However, as sampling was conducted during a pump test in the remedial design phase, levels were found to have dropped sharply.  Scientific studies indicate that hexavalent chromium is somewhat unique among metallic solutions because although it is normally quite soluble in water, it can undergo transformation into the less soluble and less toxic trivalent chromium if the surrounding soils contain organic matter or forms of iron which can be oxidized.  These types of reactions may have contributed to the decrease in hexavalent chromium in groundwater at the Novaco Industries site.  Chromium in the trivalent state tends to bind to soil particles and does not exhibit the same level of toxicity as hexavalent chromium.

Site Responsibility

This site was addressed through state and federal actions.

Threats and Contaminants

In the 1980s, groundwater samples from the shallow aquifer near the Novaco site contained low levels of chromium. Chromium contamination was not found in monitoring wells or in residential wells located in the deep aquifer.  Ingestion of contaminated groundwater was the only potential health risk at the site.  Testing conducted during the 1990s, however, showed that the level of contamination had dropped below federal drinking water standards and that the site no longer posed a risk.

Cleanup Progress

A Record of Decision (ROD) Amendment completed in 1991 for the Novaco Industries site changed the active cleanup remedy selected in 1986 to monitoring only. The ROD Amendment called for five years of monitoring and stated that if chromium levels were below levels of concern after five years, then "No Further Action" would be warranted.  The groundwater monitoring network was established and sampling for the five-year period began in February 1993.  During the first year, samples were collected quarterly and all results were below detection levels.  After that time, sampling frequency was reduced to semiannually.  The final sampling event was conducted in August 1997.  From 1988 to 1992, none of the groundwater samples collected contained chromium at levels above the drinking water standard of 50 micrograms per liter, and between 1993 and 1997, all samples were "non-detect" for chromium.  This means that none of the samples contained chromium at a level above the detection limit.

Work to dismantle the groundwater monitoring network in accordance with procedures established by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) was completed in December 1997.  In 1998, U.S. EPA deleted the site from the NPL.


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

Community Involvement Coordinator, U.S. EPA
dave novak
(312) 886-7478




Site Profile Information

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


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