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U.S. EPA to begin cleanup of former plating shop in Paw Paw, Michigan

Release Date: 02/07/2011
Contact Information: Jayna Legg, 312-353-0562,

For Immediate Release
No. 11-OPA010

CHICAGO (Feb. 7, 2011)U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 today will begin cleaning up hazardous materials at the site of Paw Paw Plating in Paw Paw, Mich.

An abandoned building on site contains chemicals used in the electroplating process. The EPA expects contractors to complete the cleanup within 90 days. Paw Paw Plating began custom electroplating in the 1950s and stopped operating in December 2009. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment referred the site to the EPA for cleanup.

Heavy metals including cadmium, chromium, copper and cyanide were used in the electroplating process. The company also performed metal processing such as machining, polishing and painting, using trichloroethylene (TCE) as a metal degreaser.

There are a variety of hazardous materials remaining in the building, including plating baths containing heavy metals, drums of plating feed stocks, drums of hazardous waste, and a number of different size containers with a wide variety of chemical compounds.

EPA will inventory and evaluate the hazardous substances on site; consolidate and package hazardous substances, pollutants and contaminants and transport them off-site for disposal in accordance with EPA rules; and conduct a comprehensive assessment of the property for contamination.

Workers will be required to wear personal protective equipment in order to remove the hazardous materials. EPA will monitor the air during the cleanup to ensure there are no releases of hazardous materials. Chemicals will be segregated, characterized and placed into containers for transport to permitted treatment facilities and/or landfills.

For more information, look at Or visit the Paw Library, 609 West Michigan, in Paw Paw.