Cleanup begins next week at toxic Grand Rapids site

Posted at 2:13 PM, Nov 24, 2015

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will start cleaning up of hundreds of drums of dangerous chemicals from an old Grand Rapids business next week.

About 300 drums of 40 or 50 different chemicals were left behind at Hard Chrome Plating at 1516 Blaine Ave. SE. The EPA is working with the Kent County Land Bank Authority (KCLBA), which is coordinating the clean-up with the City of Grand Rapids.

The business was foreclosed when the owner defaulted on taxes.  The city sold the site to the KCLBA in 2014 for $11,705.  The 6,000 square foot building contained 100 55-gallon drums, plus more smaller containers of toxic chemicals including sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid and nickel. Five plating baths also contained arsenic, chromium, lead and mercury.  The KCLBA says that there is still a 100-gallon drum of hydrochloric acid suspended from the ceiling.

The clean-up project is estimated to cost more than $100,000.  The EPA is using Superfund funds to pay for the clean-up, but they also have the authority to go after the previous owner for reimbursement.

The cleanup begins on December 1.