EPA update on cleanup of toxic GR site

Posted at 11:02 PM, Feb 17, 2016

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) updated residents on the cleanup of a foreclosed chrome plating company at a neighborhood meeting Wednesday afternoon.

Hard Chrome Plating, formerly located at 1516 Blaine Avenue SE, was left with about 300 drums of dangerous chemicals when it closed. Elizabath Nightingale, a representative from the EPA, said that they were concerned with the presence of unsecured chemicals stored in the building. Their first step, she said, is to secure the chemicals and then properly dispose of them.

"The main hazard; there was a lot of liquid and solid chemicals," Nightingale said. "A lot of acids and a lot of metals, [and] some corrosive materials."

Nightingale says that their process for disposing of chemicals begins with sampling every container and determining what the substance is. Once the chemical is known, they can dispose of it appropriately.

The EPA is only working on the building, but say that the surrounding area is clear of toxins. They also say their monitoring the air in and around the building, citing that no problems have been discovered.

The business was foreclosed when the owner defaulted on taxes. The building contained 100 55-gallon drums, plus several more smaller containers of toxic chemicals including sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid, and nickel. Five plating baths also contained arsenic, chromium, lead, and mercury.