EPA Begins Cleanup at Evansville's Miller Plating

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 has begun a $1-million cleanup of Miller Plating, a bankrupt electroplating facility in Evansville, Ind. The project will last about four months. Residents near the site, at 1551 Allens Lane, may see construction vehicles and workers in protective equipment.

The now-closed facility occupies about three acres of a seven-acre lot. The company ceased operations and declared bankruptcy in December 2007. In January 2008, EPA and Indiana Department of Environmental Management took steps to minimize potential spills, releases, and fire hazards. Some of the company's assets were auctioned off by Miller's owners in August. IDEM formally requested EPA assistance in removing hazards at the site in October. EPA's Superfund program will pay for the cleanup.

The effort includes emptying and proper disposal of tens of thousands of gallons of plating fluids, acids, cyanides and other hazardous materials. Most of these are stored in a variety of tanks, vats, drums, totes, pits and process lines in the main building. A chemical storage warehouse and the facility's wastewater treatment system also will be addressed. EPA will coordinate with local fire and environmental officials and monitor the site perimeter for airborne chemical releases throughout the project.

The business began operation as Miller Electroplating in 1916 in downtown Evansville. The company moved to the current address in 1965. In 2004, it was sold to a new owner that operated under the name Miller Plating & Metal Finish. Over the years, a number of different plating processes were used to make metal finishes for products ranging from auto parts to office supplies.