Superior Plating Remediation and Oversight


Superior Plating, the largest plating facility in the Midwest during the 1950s, operated in the Northeast neighborhood of Minneapolis from approximately 1956 through 2012. The facility was subject to numerous environmental investigations due to plating operations, which resulted in soil and groundwater contamination that was initially identified as volatile organic compounds (VOCs; specifically trichloroethene), and several heavy metals (chromium, nickel, copper, and zinc). The site’s cleanup has been complex, involving multiple parties and evolving monitoring of area-wide groundwater and soil vapor. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) hired Bay West to provide support and oversight.

Project Details

This site was originally developed in 1891, when the site building was used as a streetcar barn and repair facility. McMahon Fuel Company owned the property from 1923 to 1954. Superior Plating began using part of the building for their metal-plating operations in 1956, expanding to the rest of the building in the early 1960s and occupying it until 2012. The building was used for the company’s metal-plating operations, in which metal parts were brought to the plant and plated with various metals. These plating operations eventually led to contamination.

Bay West’s first involvement was to provide emergency response activities to a chromium-contaminated leachate emergency. Bay West cleaned up the material, assessed the temporary collection system, identified design flaws, recommended modifications, and installed them.

During site redevelopment, the original equipment for treating the leachate, located within the facility, had to be replaced with a new system to ensure proper groundwater treatment. Bay West designed and installed a new permanent leachate treatment system that  would effectively remove contaminants from the leachate. Bay West worked closely with the developer to ensure that the treatment system met the necessary regulatory requirements and was built to last.

Bay West has provided a wide range of services, including site investigation and assessment, remediation planning and implementation, monitoring and reporting, and other environmental activities. Groundwater sampling revealed that there is per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination, metals, and VOCs throughout the site. Bay West has been monitoring the site’s groundwater plume to further characterize the extent and magnitude of PFAS, solvents, and metals contamination across the area.

In addition to continued groundwater management and monitoring, Bay West assisted the MPCA in establishing and investigating the Superior Plating vapor intrusion area of concern (AOC). The vapor AOC includes numerous residential and commercial properties in Minneapolis’ Northeast neighborhood and has expanded as the vapor investigation continues. Bay West seeks access to properties on behalf of the MCPA and conducts field sampling events following MPCA Vapor Intrusion Best Management Practices. When contamination in soil vapor is identified exceeding the MPCA’s residential and commercial standards, Bay West provides assistance with communication and mitigation efforts.

Bay West continues provide valuable support to the MPCA during the site investigation and assessment, remedial implementation, operation and maintenance, and monitoring activities.


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