Rainbow City, AL - Region IV

Site Contact:

Carter Williamson
On-Scene Coordinator


1440 Sutton Bridge Road
Rainbow City, AL 35906

Latitude: 33.9742900
Longitude: -86.0420000
NRC#: ALN000409999

The Owens Plating Company Site is located in Rainbow City, Etowah County, Alabama. Owens Plating was a metal plating facility that operated three zinc-on-carbon-steel processes. The Site is a former electroplating facility that ceased operations in early 2003 and shut down the premises in 2004.

Site Conditions and Background

The Site consists of a large combined building that is approximately 30,000 square feet in size. The site is located at 1440 Sutton Bridge Road in Rainbow City, Etowah County, Alabama. The site sits in a mixed-use community, with industry and residences nearby. The 30,000 square foot facility’s wall structure is compromised and allows for easy access into the facility. The facility has an area containing approximately 117 vats and 388 55-gallon drums along with approximately 1,000 small containers located in the laboratory. These containers range in size from 100 milliliters to 5 gallons. Many of the drums and small containers are unlabeled and the contents of the 177 plating line and water treatment vats have not been identified. The plating vats all have material present, either in liquid or solid/sludge form. The facility is rapidly deteriorating due to the corrosive environment produced by the abandoned plating lines.

There are abandoned containers that contain hazardous substances, pollutants or contaminants located on the Site. These containers are located in an unsecured abandoned facility. There is some evidence of past leakage from the containers.

There are unsecured, abandoned containers, drums and vats, containing hazardous substances, pollutants or contaminants on the Site. The integrity of these containers are questionable and pose a threat of release. In addition, trespassers or vandals could access the Site and cause a release by tampering with the containers.

Analytical results from surface and sub-surface soil has indicated possible release from containers or piping at the facility.

The facility is abandoned, in disrepair and the containers are unsecured. Most of the containers and electroplating lines/vats are exposed to the weather and continue to deteriorate. The facility’s metal siding shows signs of corrosion from the inside. This is an indication that the building’s indoor atmosphere has been and still is corrosive and affecting the structures integrity. This corrosion has caused roof collapse in several areas of the main building causing the increased potential of contaminants to migrate or release off-site.

Incompatible chemicals could have exothermic reaction causing a fire. There are several unlabeled containers on site and therefore we cannot rule out the threat of fire or explosion. Although the drums containing cyanide compounds are not in itself flammable, they may produce toxic fumes in a fire.

Proposed Removal Actions

EPA's proposed actions for activities at the Site will include the following:

Conduct personnel and site air monitoring activities and other health and safety actions as may be required;

Remove liquids and sludge from electroplating vats. Decontaminate the vats.

Remove sludge from drain areas that were used for transferring electroplating rinse to the water treatment system. Pressure wash the cement floors where warranted. Otherwise,removal of concrete padding and affected soils.

Remove material from the filter press and water treatment system.

Dismantle drain pipes used for the transfer of the electroplate rinse to the water treatment system.

Conduct sampling for waste profiling.

For additional information, visit the Pollution Report (POLREPS) section.