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NPL Site Narrative for H & K Sales

Belding, Michigan

Federal Register Notice:  June 17, 1996 (PDF) (23 pp, 335K, About PDF)

Conditions at Proposal (October 1995): H&K Sales is an aircraft parts dealer located in Belding, Michigan. The H&K Sales site consists of several acres of land bounded by the Flat River, Bridge Street, and adjacent industrial buildings. The site includes a warehouse building constructed with a mainly concrete floor and foundation with brick and block walls and a metal roof. Storage space is estimated at about 30,000 square feet with about 20,000 square feet occupied exclusively by aircraft gauges and materials originating from the former Aircraft Components Inc. facility.

After World War II the US Army sold aircraft components parts, including radioactive radioluminescent aircraft dials, to Aircraft Components Inc. of Benton Harbor, Michigan. Aircraft Components operated a mail order catalogue business selling Army surplus. The estate of the owners of Aircraft Components sold the property in the early 1990s to D&L Sales, who were interested in the warehouse building but not the Army surplus. D&L sold the aircraft parts to H&K Sales. H&K Sales transferred approximately 150 truck shipments of the radioactive parts to their Belding, Michigan warehouse over the period from November 1993 to April 1994. In addition, wooden cases with labels indicating that they might contain unexploded ordnance were observed at the warehouse during an Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry (ATSDR) investigation; however, the contents of the cases have not been verified.

A preliminary radiation survey was conducted by the Michigan Department of Public Health (MDPH) Division of Radiological Health on October 3, 1994. A second supplemental radiation survey was conducted on October 21, 1994 by division staff with the assistance of US EPA Region 5. Gamma radiation levels measured in the warehouse ranged from background levels to 7 milliroentgens per hour. An estimated 3,000 to 6,000 radioluminous aircraft gauges are in storage at this site. A relatively extensive area of the warehouse presented gamma radiation levels in excess of 1 milliroentgen per hour. Surface contamination was measured as ranging from about 200 counts per minute to about 5,000 counts per minute at several locations. Radon levels measured in the building ranged from about 30 to 50 picocuries per liter, well above expected background levels. No individuals routinely work at this site.

A preliminary health physics analysis of currently available data relating to the radioluminous gauges indicates that the likely exposure to individuals includes external exposure to gamma rays, internal exposure due to inhalation of radon gas, and potential internal exposure due to inhalation and/or ingestion of contaminated material in the form of dust or other fine particles. A Public Health Advisory was issued by the ATSDR on June 29, 1995. Because some radiological contaminants are easily removed from surfaces, ATSDR believes that this site poses a health hazard to on-site employees, future remediation workers, nearby residents, and any intruders that may enter the on-site structures.

Status (June 1996): In February 1996, EPA and the MDPH conducted a site inspection to revise the volume and cost estimates developed by the Army in May 1995. EPA is currently conducting an Engineering Evaluation/Cost Analysis. A public meeting to present the removal action plan is scheduled for late April or early May 1996.

For more information about the hazardous substances identified in this narrative summary, including general information regarding the effects of exposure to these substances on human health, please see the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) ToxFAQs. ATSDR ToxFAQs can be found on the Internet at ATSDR - ToxFAQs (http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxfaqs/index.asp) or by telephone at 1-888-42-ATSDR or 1-888-422-8737.

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