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Harbor Plating (Benton Harbor, Berrien County)

EGLE Site Lead: Pablo Mora, or 269-910-0136. Webpage last updated April 7, 2020.


Harbor Plating Company, formerly located at 724 South Fair Street, performed hard chrome, decorative chrome, and cadmium plating.  The site was found to be contaminated when an environmental assessment was performed after the property was tax-reverted to the city in 1990.  The Environmental Protection Agency was notified and removed hazardous substances remaining in the building and in 1998 the city demolished the structure.  A hydrogeological investigation found multiple plumes of contaminated groundwater (hexavalent chromium and trichloroethylene (TCE)) migrating off-site towards Ox Creek and under an elementary school to an un-named creek; the elementary school has since been demolished.  In 2011, Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy installed a groundwater capture system in an outbuilding of the former school to remove chromium and TCE from groundwater.  Due to the contamination being treated by EGLE, and because the contamination originated from plating operations, EGLE tested the influent groundwater and pre- and post-carbon treatment effluent groundwater for PFAS.

Groundwater flow is radial towards the west, northwest, and discharges to Ox Creek and an un-named creek that enters Ox Creek.


Recent Accomplishments

  • On December 17, 2019, EGLE’s contractor EnviroSolutions collected three groundwater samples.  One sample was a combination of groundwater pumped from two collection trenches on site and pumped into the chromium treatment system.  A second sample was of the treated effluent before it enters the carbon vessels for VOC removal.  The third effluent sample was of treated groundwater leaving the carbon vessel before discharging to the local wastewater treatment plant via the sanitary sewer.
  • On January 14, 2020, EGLE received the groundwater sample results.  The highest PFOS + PFOA groundwater result was 120 ppt.

Next Steps

  • Future groundwater sampling is being considered to determine contaminant trends and could occur with ongoing quarterly system sampling.

Residential Well Testing/Alternate Water Information

  • Area residents are connected to municipal water.
  • Berrien County Health Department confirmed there are no residential wells downgradient of this site.

Upcoming Community Engagement

  • None scheduled at this time.

Sampling: PFOS and PFOA Only

Type of Sample

Date Sampled

# of Samples

# of Results Received

# of Non-detects

# Between Non-detect and standard*

# > Standard


December 2019 3 3 1 0 2


3 3 1 0 2
*Groundwater results are compared to EGLE Part 201 Criteria of 70 ppt PFOS+PFOA.

Sampling Notes

  • None at this time.