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The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) requested that the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services, Bureau of Public Health (BPH), evaluate any health hazards at the West Bend Plating Property. The most significant health concerns remaining at the former West Bend Plating property are the physical hazards associated with debris and scrap materials. Based on a review of the phase two sample results, chemical contamination does not pose an immediate health hazard. However, long-term exposure to contaminated surface soils does pose a health hazard. With some modifications to the current property, its future use as an extension of West Bend's river walkway would not pose a public health hazard.


The former West Bend Plating property is located at 526 West Washington Street, in the City of West Bend. The property is approximately a half of an acre at the northwest corner of the intersection of West Washington Street and the Milwaukee River. The area is primarily comprised of commercial businesses. The City of West Bend River Walkway passes by the site on the western property edge. Access to the property is not restricted, and people enter the property frequently. The City of West Bend plans to convert the property into green space and an extension of its river walkway.

A two-story wooden building had been on the property until recently. This building housed various light industrial activities over the past century. The facility was most recently used for zinc and tin plating. Other activities in the property's history include: manufacture of brake shoes, hub caps and radiator caps; manufacture of cattle stations; manufacture of kitchen utensils and appliances; leather tanning; ice storage; knitting mill; manufacture of clam shell buttons; and lumber milling.

A three hundred gallon gasoline storage tank and a fuel oil tank were removed from the property in 1989. There are three public wells within a half mile of the site that are contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including trichloroethylene. Local groundwater information indicates that another facility is the most likely source of this contamination.

In 1993, DNR contracted to have drummed waste materials stabilized and over-packed. In the summer months of 1997, DNR installed and sampled monitoring wells. Samples were also taken from surface soils and soil borings, both outside and beneath the building. Groundwater and soil samples were analyzed for VOCs, semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs), inorganics, pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and cyanides. Surface soils were also analyzed for asbestos content. In mid October, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) conducted an emergency removal, which included disposing of contaminated wastes, removing equipment, and razing the building. There are a number of physical hazards remaining on the property including the remains of the foundation, scrap materials, and uneven ground from the demolition activities. The clamshells unearthed by the demolition have become popular among local residents.

DNR identified the out-fall of what appears to be the building's foundation drain(s). This out-fall discharges to the Milwaukee River about midway along the property boundary.

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