Superfund Site Profile


The Better Brite Plating Co. Chrome and Zinc Shops site, 519 Lande St., DePere, Wis, is a 4-acre site comprising two sections of land divided by a residential area.  Metal plating operations were conducted at the Chrome Shop from 1978 to 1985 and at the Zinc Shop from 1968 to 1989. Between 20,000 and 60,000 gallons of plating solution leaked from in-ground tanks at the Chrome Shop. In addition, contaminated waste reportedly was spilled. At that time, groundwater was used for drinking water.   

In early investigations, high levels of chromium, zinc, cadmium, and cyanide were found in waste, surface water and soil samples. During periods of high water levels, chromium-contaminated surface water collected in the backyards of nearby homes. Area residents could have been exposed to contaminants through direct contact or accidental ingestion. There was an illegal discharge to a storm sewer. Chromium-contaminated groundwater was also recharging the sump of an nearby residence.

Cleanup at the Chrome Shop included the removal of four subsurface plating and cleaning tanks, all surface waste, and some contaminated soil.  The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources razed the main Chrome Shop building, partially fenced the site, covered it with clay, placed topsoil on the clay cover, and seeded it.  EPA installed new groundwater treatment and collection systems and removed more than 10,000 tons of contaminated soil and debris.

Cleanup at the Zinc Shop included the removal of plating solutions and sludge stored in drums, vats and tanks, and the installation of a groundwater collection trench.  EPA also removed the foundation, two 15-foot tanks, and excavated more than 6,000 tons of contaminated soil.

EPA, and later the WDNR, operated and maintained the groundwater collection systems while a more complete investigation of the remaining soil and groundwater contamination was done. In September 1996, based on the recommendation of WDNR, EPA selected final the cleanup plans which included replacing the groundwater removal and treatment system at the Chrome Shop, treating the soil and groundwater by stabilizing the chromium, continuing groundwater removal and treatment at the Zinc Shop,  and isolating the recharge of contaminated groundwater to basement sumps in a nearby residence.