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EPA in Michigan

Electro-Plating Services - I696 Release Site

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On Dec. 20, 2019, Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) asked EPA for assistance with a suspected hexavalent chromium spill. A mound of bright yellow-green ice was visible leaking from the barrier wall along the highway (on the south side of eastbound I-696, just west of Couzens Road). EPA determined that the source was the Electro-Plating Services (EPS) site uphill from the leak.  Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy's Electro-Plating Services / I-696 IncidentEXIT

Site Update

EPA and Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) are implementing a plan to manage groundwater contamination at the former Electro-Plating Services (EPS) facility in Madison Heights. EGLE and EPA held a virtual meeting on Tuesday, August 11 to discuss details of the cleanup and answer questions.  Groundwater Cleanup to Begin This Summer 

Contaminants at the EPS site include hexavalent chromium, trichloroethylene (TCE), cyanide and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Since December 2019, EPA has collected a total of 321,800  gallons of contaminated groundwater and hauled it off-site for treatment and disposal. While effective, this method is not sustainable long-term, as it is both costly and resource intensive. 

After evaluating several options, EPA and EGLE selected in-situ, or in-place, treatment as the remedy for groundwater contamination at the site. Treatment chemicals that degrade contaminants will be placed into the soil between the EPS building and the service drive, as well as along the top of the I-696 embankment. As groundwater naturally migrates through the soil, it will flow through the treatment areas, or react with the chemical barrier, and the contaminants will be treated in place. More about this treatment technology.

Placement of the treatment chemicals, called reagents, began on a small-scale in July 2020. Full-scale placement is anticipated to occur in October 2020.  EPA conducted sampling after the small-scale treatment, and initial results were promising for treating site contaminants.  Sampling will continue after the full-scale treatment to ensure the treatment is effective before decommissioning the current groundwater collection system. EPA expects to transfer the site to EGLE in December 2020 to maintain the new treatment system. It is estimated that the treatment materials may need to be replaced every three to five years.

The goal of the treatment is to address the groundwater contamination as it migrates from the EPS site. On-site soils still contain contaminants above clean-up criteria.

Removing the source of the contamination (the building and site soils) will reduce the duration of in-situ treatment.

Legal proceedings are currently underway to authorize demolition and removal of the EPS building. Only when the building is removed can contaminated soils be permanently removed. EPA will line the sanitary and storm sewers with an epoxy, cured-in-place pipe liner.   This will prevent any further infiltration of groundwater into the deteriorated pipes.

The plan transitions the site from the immediate response efforts that have been ongoing since December 2019 to a long-term management process that protects residents and natural resources.  It is EPA’s intent to remain on site and continue the pumping and treating operations until the end of the year.  At that time, the site will be transitioned over to EGLE.

More information: Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy's Electro-Plating Services / I-696 IncidentEXIT

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Beginning Dec. 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

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Informing the Community

To keep agencies and leaders of the community involved and informed with current operations on the site, stakeholder briefings have been held with EPA, EGLE, MDOT, and the City of Madison Heights. The latest update was provided to the community via webinar on August 11, 2020. You can view the meeting by here:

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Presentations and fact sheets

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Photo Gallery

Images of cleanup progress for the site

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