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The Precision Plating site is located in Vernon, Connecticut. A chromium plating company formerly known as the Precision Plating Corp. is one of several tenants in a small industrial complex known as the Hillside Industrial Park. The company has been chrome plating various metal parts and fixtures on this 3-acre area since 1970. Wastes generated during the chrome plating process contaminated drinking water wells in the Hillside Industrial Park. Following immediate actions to protect human health and the environment, site investigations and long-term cleanup planning are ongoing.

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What Is Being Done to Clean Up the Site?

The site is being addressed through federal actions. The site is being addressed in two stages: initial actions and a long-term remedial phase focused on contamination across the entire site.

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What Is the Current Site Status?

Precision Plating Corp. complied with state orders in 1986 and installed five shallow monitoring wells, sampled surface water, removed 20 cubic yards of contaminated soil and provided alternate drinking water supplies to a trailer park to the south.

In 1998, EPA entered into an agreement with the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (CT DEP) in which the state agreed to take the lead on site management. In 2011, the project moved under federal lead. CT DEP, now the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP), is working with EPA to investigate the site and come up with a cleanup plan.

An investigation into the nature and extent of contamination at the site began in October 2002 under CT DEEP authority. EPA’s investigation began in May 2012 and is currently ongoing.  A proposed cleanup plan is expected to be released for public comment in 2017-2018. EPA is working closely with the state on all aspects of the project.

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EPA’s Involvement at the Site

The chromium plating company has been chrome plating various metal parts and fixtures since 1970. The process includes alkaline cleaning, chemical etching, rinsing, buffing and polishing. Wastes generated during this process include rinse waters containing heavy metals, batch wastes of alkaline cleaner, and spent plating and etching acids. Before 1983, rinse waters were discharged to a storm drain outside the building. Process plating acids and chrome plating wastes were stored in drums and in a 500-gallon tank.

In 1979, Vernon's Health Department found the well serving the Hillside Industrial Park was contaminated with hexavalent and trivalent chromium. The rupturing of drums and a storage tank by a snow plow was likely the primary cause of contamination. The company, and later EPA, confirmed that groundwater underlying the site had become contaminated.

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