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EPA in Michigan

Electro-Plating Services - I696 Release Site

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Site Description

On December 20, 2019, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) requested EPA assistance to assess the release of an unknown volume of hexavalent chromium contaminated water from Electro Plating Services in Madison Heights, Michigan. EPA’s Emergency Response Program coordinated an emergency action to remove contamination that is migrating off the property.   EPA remains on-site to monitor the situation and is coordinating closely with state and local officials on a long-term solution.


Boldfaced items are new information.

As of Jan. 14, 2020, EPA’s response actions include:

  • Mobilized to the site and removed contaminated water that had leaked onto Interstate 696 and into the catch basins of the sewer system.
  • Coordinated with Michigan EGLE, Michigan Department of Transportation, and local agencies to ensure safe access and operations in the work zones. MDOT has been integral is providing lane closures.
  • Installed two sumps. The first, in the basement pit of the Electro Plating Services building to collect and remove water from the basement into a portable tank to prevent water from migrating off-site. The second, a collection system along the embankment wall of Interstate 696 which has been plumbed to discharge into a frac-tank that has been placed on the shoulder of the highway.
  • Both sumps are operated by a float and are operational 24 hours/day.
  • Took soil samples and installed 25 monitoring wells. Twenty-one soil and 19 groundwater samples have been sent to a lab for analysis.
  • Began an expanded assessment to determine what further actions may be necessary. This assessment included drilling test wells to evaluate how far contamination has migrated through area soil.
  • Used an hydraulic profiling tool (HPT)  to better understand the location and movement of groundwater on the site.
  • Collected six water samples from the storm sewer and catch basins near the the facility as well as the outlet to Bear Creek. 
  • Collected 21,000 gallons of liquid from storm drains, the on-site monitoring well and the basement of the former plating facility.
  • Storm sewer-by pass approved by city of Madison Heights and is functioning. Plugged a section of sewer along plating facility to prevent flow through. 
  • Placed glycol heater in frac tank with heated hoses to prevent freezing.
  • Wrapped to insulate exposed plumbing from cold temperatures.
  • A third frac tank was delivered to site to handle additional liquid generated from the future interceptor trench sump.
  • Removed concrete and asphalt from the roadway where the interceptor trench is to be excavated.
  • Began interceptor trench excavation.
  • Took samples for a treatability study.
  • The 36" perforated pipe, to be used as a sump, was set at approximately 13' deep. Two unidentified pipes were discovered crossing the excavation.
  • Continue geospatial survey of site collecting GPS and elevation points.
  • Gauge monitoring well depths and properly abandoning temporary wells with bentonite.
  • City of Madison Heights Public Works surveyed sewer lines with a drain camera.

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Beginning on December 22, 2019, EPA collected soil and groundwater samples from dozens of locations near the former Electro-Plating Services facility to help determine the nature and extent of contamination.  Sampling Information and Interactive Mapping

Site Background

In 2017, EPA conducted a time-critical removal action at the site to remove direct contact hazards, including:

  • Removed over 5,000 containers and pumped 37,000 gallons of hexavalent chromium (or chromium VI) contaminated water from the basement.
  • Backfilled and compacted a related pit.
  • Conducted subsurface sampling around the building to determine if contamination had migrated from the building.
  •  Upon discovering contamination at depth, EPA referred the site to Michigan EGLE to evaluate it for potential longer-term remediation.

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Electro-plating - I696 Incident Meeting Powerpoint 12/27/2019(10 pp, 19 MB, Dec. 27, 2019)

Electro-Plating I696 Incident Meeting 1/3/2020(11 pp, 7 MB, Jan.3, 2020)

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Photo Gallery

Images of cleanup progress for the site