Universal Plating

Morganfield, KY - Region IV

Site Contact:

Art Smith


135 Industrial Road
Morganfield, KY 42437

Universal Plating is located at 135 Industrial Road in Morganfield, KY, and operated a custom electroplating and powder coating business from the late 1990s until October 2002.

In April, 2004, the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection (KYDEP) conducted an initial investigation of the facility. The building was found to be locked, unoccupied, and abandoned. The inspection report noted the presence of numerous tanks and other open containers of suspected plating solutions and a “significant acrid/sulfuric acid” odor emanating from a building opening.

On June 8, 2004, the OSC and the Region 4 Superfund Technical Assessment and Response Team (START) accompanied KYDEP Superfund Branch personnel and conducted a removal site evaluation (RSE) pursuant to Section 300.410 of the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan (NCP). The OSC noted that the site was abandoned and detected the odor of acid fumes in areas outside the plating building. Once inside, the investigation team documented the presence of suspected plating solutions in over 20 open tanks inside the building. Two of the tanks were labeled “muriatic acid”, and had a measured pH of less than 2. Based on the previous detection of odors by the OSC in areas outside of the building, a direct reading instrument was deployed and evidence of acid gases was detected within the fan housing exiting the building, verifying that an airborne release into the environment is ongoing. Further investigation was halted at this point, and the RSE was concluded by the OSC.

On June 9, 2004, the OSC issued a verbal Task Order to the Emergency and Rapid Response Services (ERRS) contractor (CMC, Inc.) for purposes of stabilizing immediate hazards at the Site. On June 10, 2004, work was performed to cover all open containers and to secure the building. All parties demobilized the Site on June 10.

EPA and it's contractors re-mobilized to the site on July 26, 2004 to complete the initial phase of the removal action. Activities included hazard characterization for wastestream identification of plating baths and other miscellaneous chemicals found throughout the building. Field compatibility testing was performed and test bulking schemes were prepared. The primary wastestream is over 14,000 galllons of an acid liquid with a pH of less than 1.0 units. A cyanide liquid wastestream of up to 3,500 gallons and up to 6 tons of a caustic solid wastestream (pH 12) will require disposal/treatment at an off-site facility. After samples of liquid, solids, and soils were sent to an offsite lab for analyses, all parties demobilized the Site on July 28.

On August 22, EPA and its contractors re-mobilized to the facility to begin Phase 2 of the time-critical removal action. During this period, wastes were consolidated and shipped offsite, and the building was decontaminated. Following the cleaning process, START tested the pH of the floors, walls, and ceiling to verify the absence of any corrosive residues on building surfaces. Results indicated pH values ranging from 6 to 8. A pH value of 7 is considered neutral.

On September 18, 2004 EPA and it's contractors demobilized the site, marking the completion of the removal action. EPA is working with local officials to facilitate the re-use of the building.

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