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Specified Plating Site

Site Contact:
Andrew Maguire & Danita Larry
On-Scene Coordinator


Site Location:
320 N Harding
Chicago, IL 60624

Site Update

May 2023 - Responders backfilled areas that previously contained concrete vats and hazardous floor debris was removed for proper off-site disposal. Disposal facilities received all wastes from the site and EPA demobilized all site trailers, equipment, and personnel. The City of Chicago secured the building to prevent trespassing. 

April 2023 - Hazardous and non-hazardous wastes (liquids and solids) are being packed and shipped off-site for proper disposal based on sampling results.

March 2023 - Packing and shipping of wastes for off-site disposal is ongoing. Also, contractors continue excavating and sampling under the former plating line. Hazardous substances are being stored into totes and cubic yard boxes in preparation for shipping and disposal. Air is being continually monitored for hazards including acid gases, asbestos, and heavy metals.

February 2023 - The packing and shipping of wastes for off-site disposal is ongoing. Also, contractors began excavating and sampling under the former plating line to determine the volume of hazardous waste in this area.

January 2023 - Hazardous and non-hazardous wastes (liquids and solids) are being packed for proper disposal based on sampling results. Also, contractors are cleaning and dismantling vats and drums. Air monitoring is ongoing and on-site workers are wearing PPE while in the work zone. 

From 12/19/22 to 1/2/23, work on site was suspended to allow for analytical data to be received and for the winter holidays. 24-hour security was present during this period. 

December 2022 - Sampling is being conducted on site materials and contractors are in the process of transferring hazardous substances into totes and drums to prepare for shipping and disposal.  Air is being continually monitored for hazards including acid gases, asbestos, and heavy metals.

November 2022 - On November 28th, EPA began Time Critical Removal of hazardous liquid and debris.  Initial action included inventorying materials, moving debris, and establishing zoned work areas. Clean up is expected to take 12-14 weeks to complete and crews will dispose of all hazardous materials off-site. Measures will be in place to ensure the work is done safely and doesn’t affect surrounding businesses and residents.

March 2022 – EPA has filed for a warrant through the US Department of Justice to start the time-critical removal at the Specified Plating Site in Chicago.  EPA is requesting authority to enter and have continued access to the site to conduct cleanup activities that will protect public health and the environment from a release or threat of release of hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants. Once the access warrant is granted, EPA will conduct a cleanup consisting of removing the abandoned wastes and transporting them for off-site disposal.

Site Background

The Specified Plating Co. site is located in a mixed residential-industrial area in Chicago, Illinois. The site is made up of several connecting buildings that operated up to three plating lines, a powder coating line, and a wastewater treatment facility and associated maintenance areas. Operations at the Specified Plating Co. began in 1945 and ended in October 2019 due to numerous code violations from the City of Chicago Fire and Building Departments. These violations include discontinued gas service and non-functioning fire suppression system. At the time of the Site closure only one plating line was in operation.

In November 2019, EPA received a request from Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) for assistance to address the dangerous conditions at the site. CDPH’s request included Specified Plating’s chemical storage, improper cyanide chemical management, and facility disrepair. CDPH also noted numerous plating vats, totes, and containers in poor condition that contained unknown chemicals. Due to the lack of heat and fire suppression, there were also concerns for vandalism, fires and potential chemical releases to the area.

EPA made visits to the site from December 2019 to January 2020 to complete an assessment of the facility, as well as taking inventory and sampling the materials inside. Hazardous substances, including caustic and acidic liquids, cyanide and heavy metals, were present in vats and in floor debris throughout the buildings. In September 2020, EPA drafted an action memorandum for a possible Time-Critical Removal Action. Since EPA’s site assessments, efforts to obtain voluntary access to conduct the cleanup have been unsuccessful

EPA’s plan to address hazardous materials at the site included an inventory and sampling of all substances contained in drums, tanks, and other containers; dismantle and decontaminate any plating process equipment, vats, tanks, piping, and building components; and remove contaminated floor debris. EPA will consolidate and package hazardous substances, pollutants and contaminants for transportation and off-site disposal. Material will be disposed of in accordance with federal and state requirements.