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Lacks Barden Plating Facility (Grand Rapids, Kent County)

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Please contact the Site Lead for the most up-to-date status of this site.

EGLE site lead

Brent Ritchie,, 616-581-1782


The Lacks Barden Plating Facility is located at 4080 and 4090 Barden Drive SE, in Kentwood. The site is an active plating facility that conducts decorative chrome electroplating primarily on plastic automotive parts, but also on plumbing fixtures, household appliances and business machines. Lacks has operated at this location since approximately 2005.

Samples of storm water were collected at the facility in 2021 and 2022 as part of a Storm Water Characterization Study and PFOS was as high as 784 ppt (compared to 12 ppt) and copper as high as 0.70 milligrams per liter (mg/L). A thorough investigation of the storm water drainage system onsite led to the discovery of a faulty sump in the metal plating area of the facility, where plating solution was released into the soil, and then transported through the stormwater system via fractured piping in the subsurface.

The source was subsequently isolated from the stormwater system, the fractured piping was replaced with closed PVC piping, and the sump was replaced. Lacks conducted a soil boring investigation throughout the plating area of the facility in October 2022 which included collecting soil samples for analysis of metals, hexavalent chromium, sulfate, chloride and PFAS. Analytical results identified elevated levels of chloride, sulfide, copper, selenium, and PFOS in soil within the vicinity of the replaced sump, with a maximum PFOS soil concentration of 180,000 ppt. A sediment sample collected at the storm water outfall south of the facility contained PFOS at a concentration of 840 ppt. There is no soil or sediment criteria.

In December 2022, EGLE Water Resources Division (WRD) sent a violation of outfall discharge permit notice to Lacks, and EGLE Remediation and Redevelopment Division (RRD) sent a compliance communication requesting compliance with Part 201 obligations for their facility. Lacks continued their investigation in July 2023 by collecting water samples from storm water catch basins and collecting groundwater samples adjacent to the storm water drain system to the north, west, and south of the facility.

This sampling identified elevated concentrations of copper, chloride, PFOS and PFOA. The maximum concentration of PFOA in groundwater was 13 ppt (compared to 8 ppt) and the maximum concentration of PFOS in groundwater was 580 ppt (compared to 16 ppt). Additional investigations activities are expected to be conducted throughout 2024. Groundwater flow is believed to be south toward the stormwater outfall, which empties into a tributary of Plaster Creek approximately 200 feet to the south of the outfall.

Drinking water information

The area surrounding the Lacks Barden Plating facility is mainly industrial, with residential areas existing approximately 3,000 feet to the west of the site. The industrial and residential properties in the immediate vicinity of the site are serviced by municipal water. EGLE, DHHS, and Kent County Health Department identified one residential well nearby that is planned to be sampled.

Anticipated activities

EGLE will continue to oversee the response actions that Lacks is implementing to delineate the extent of the PFAS impacts in groundwater and surface water and mitigate any potential public health risks at the site.