Timeline: 232 Monroe Street, Saline Michigan

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Timeline: 232 Monroe Street, Saline Michigan

Following will be updated as additional information and corrections are found. Links provided where detailed content available online. Further detail, documentation may be added responses to this thread on The Saline Post.

Hoover Universal die cast facility site circa 1983
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Hoover Universal die cast facility site circa 1983

This is how the site at 232 Monroe Street, Saline Michigan was set in October of 1983. Although I would not say this is exactingly to scale, the proportions are very close.

Note: This diagram is solely my own original work and I have always had and retained all rights to it.

Hoover Universal lower building detail circa 1983
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Hoover Universal lower building detail circa 1983

Referenced to the diagram above, this drawing shows detail within the main building itself, keyed to the upper right of its layout.

Note: This diagram is solely my own original work and I have always had and retained all rights to it.

Hoover Universal upper building detail circa 1983
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Hoover Universal upper building detail circa 1983

Referenced to the diagram above, this drawing shows detail within the main building itself, keyed to the lower right of its layout.

Note: This diagram is solely my own original work and I have always had and retained all rights to it.

Hoover Universal Die Cast Department detail circa 1983
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Hoover Universal Die Cast Department detail circa 1983

Referenced to the upper building detail diagram above, this drawing provides additional information on the placement of individual die cast machines and support equipment.

Note: This diagram is solely my own original work and I have always had and retained all rights to it.

1988-- March 2, The Saline Reporter

Auto Slowdown Forces Layoffs

Universal Die Casting Inc., a mainstay on Monroe Street for some 40 years, laid off an unspecified number of its employees Friday due to the recent decline in automotive sales.

'We laid off a number of our employees because of the reduction in the production of cars and because of the fact that less chrome-plating is being incorporated into today's cars,' company President Lou Zachary said. 

ZACHARY SAID the layoffs are not termed 'permanent.' He declined to comment on whether the move was a sign that the firm may be closing its doors sometime in the future.

He also said the layoffs were unrelated to the costs the firm incurred in cleaning up the sludge that the plant had created over the years.

‘WE ARE PROUD of the fact that we made it possible for the land to be cleaned up after the previous owner refused to do it. The other side of the river still needs to be cleaned up, but we don’t own title to the other side,’ Zachary noted. 

Universal Die Casting, a privately held firm, was purchased from Hoover Universal in January of 1984 by a group of private investors.

— complete issue of this edition of The Saline Reporter is available online at Central Michigan University "Digital Michigan Newspapers"

Lots of great stuff here.

Lots of great stuff here.

April 1992 Google Earth Pro image of site
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April 1992 Google Earth Pro image of 232 Monroe Street, Saline MI

This is the earliest satellite image of the site that I could find on Google Earth Pro. This would have been a handful of years after die cast operations were discontinued at the facility. Importantly, the two blue-green chemical discharge ponds from the southwest quadrant of the property are not in evidence — although the associated pump houses appear to have still been intact. 

Current (2017) satellite image with facility overlay
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2017 Google Maps satellite image of site with 1983 diagrams overlay

For this graphic, I've taken a current Google Maps satellite image of 232 Monroe Street and superimposed  key outlines from the drawings I made in 1983 (posted above). 

Chemical discharge ponds on property, circa 1982
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Chemical discharge ponds on property, circa 1982

This is a snapshot taken from the roof of the die cast factory, facing toward the southwest of the 232 Monroe Street site. During this period, the plant was running full production: Three shifts, five days per week, with typical output from eight to ten die casting machines throughout. 

1986-- July 23, The Saline Reporter

Removal of Soil Nears Completion at Plant Site

Hoover Universal, former owner of the die cast factory located on Monroe Street, is in the process of removing oil contaminated soil from beneath the parking area of Universal Die Cast.

According to Ray Jusak, corporate manger of Environment and Energy at Hoover Universal, plant officials first became aware of the problem when an oil stain was noticed on the Saline River next to the plant. Officials suspected it was merely run-off from the plant parking lot, but soil samples showed the oil to be coming from underground. The source was identified as two leaking fuel oil tanks, of which the company was not aware, buried in the ground below what is now the shipping and receiving area. The tanks were dug up and removed and the oil contaminated area identified by boring test wells in a grid pattern.

The oil is located in a liquid permeable sandy gravel layer situated between sandy top soil and a bluish-grey clay base. An impermeable clay barrier was set in the ground around the contaminated area to entrap the oil spread and prevent ground water from flowing through. The wall runs down to the clay base and extends to the river. According to Jusak, small quantities of oil have been seeping into the Saline River for years, however Jusak says this is not a threat to the river.

'Probably much less than you would get from the run-off of. a typical road,' he commented, gesturing toward Macon Road where it spans the Saline River.

HOOVER IS TRANSPORTING the oil contaminated soil to the City Sand and Land Fill in Sumpter. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is overseeing the project and has classified the waste being removed as 'non-hazardous contaminated soil.' Hoover will continue to remove the soil until test samples register less than 10 parts per million.

'A level far below that discernable to human senses,' said Jusak.

Pat Nader, personnel director of Universal Die Cast, said due to employee concern about the safety of drinking water, the plant well has been tested but found to be free of oil.

'The well water is high in iron and calcium which gives it a funny taste, but employees are drinking it,' explained Nader.

HOOVER UNIVERSAL sold the Monroe Street plant to Universal Die Cast nearly 2 years ago, but had agreed at the time of sale to assume responsibility for two possible environmental matters: to remove hazardous chemical waste from retention ponds located near the waste treatment system, and to determine the source of the oil spread on the Saline River, eliminating any problems found there. Hoover completed the cleanup job involving two of the lagoons about six months ago. The EPA oversaw the excavations in which the contents of the ponds, including the sludge, were removed down to the clay base, then replaced with clean fill dirt. Another holding pond located on the south side of the river is awaiting cleanup. A closure plan has been submitted to the EPA and the state, and currently is being reviewed for approval. Jusak stated that the present test well drilling is in no way related to the chemical holding ponds.

Jusak estimates the fuel tanks were installed about 40 years ago when most factories that had burned coal were changing over to fuel oil to heat their boilers. When the plant went from oil to gas, they filled the near empty tanks to prevent their 'floating' to the surface and they were forgotten.

— complete issue of this edition of The Saline Reporter is available online at Central Michigan University "Digital Michigan Newspapers"

May 7, 2015 letter from Johnson Controls to EPA
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May 7, 2015 letter from Johnson Controls to EPA

Subject line

Status Update for Corrective Measures Proposal
232/290 Monroe Street, Saline, Michigan
USEPA ID No MID980795512

Opening paragraph

Johnson Controls, Inc (JCI) has prepared this letter to formally update the USEPA regarding the current status of and JCI's plans for implementing Corrective Measures at the former Washtenaw Industrial Facility at 232/290 Monroe Street in Saline, Michigan ("Site"). In summary, JCI has resolved the outstanding legal matters with the Site's prior owners, re-acquired ownership of the property, communicated with representatives of the City of Saline, Michigan on numerous occasions, taken several steps to improve the Site's safety and appearance, and is developing a new Corrective Measures approach for implementation at the Site. A status update for the site is provided in the points below.

Issue with oder originating at 232 Monroe Street site

In its coverage of the "surprise" appearance of Johnson Controls Director of Environmental Affairs Michael Stoelton at the March 6, 2016 Saline City Council Meeting, The Saline Post article passages below are noteworthy in terms of ongoing oder issues on Monroe Street.

He came on his own initiative to tell council and the citizens of Saline that he had decided to accelerate cleanup plans at the 232 Monroe Street ....

'I’m going to tell you what changed,” Stoelton said. “I went home and thought about it.'

He said that his thinking changed in part because of comments made at the November meeting by councilperson Linda TerHaar. She had noted that neighbors were suffering from unpleasant odors in the area.

'I don’t want the citizens of Saline to have to deal with the odors for the next one to two years before we can remediate,' Stoelton said ....

Although I have no formal training and claim no expertise in oder sniffing, I will say that there was a noticeable foul smell in the air when photographing the site yesterday from a northeast vantage point (standing on top of my truck cab). 

Photograph of die cast department, circa 1982
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Photograph of Hoover Universal Saline Michigan die cast department, circa 1982

View of die casting production area during typical shift operation under Hoover Universal ownership of this plant. 

Referencing the diagrams posted to this thread above, this location is the northeast-most part of the building, at door 27 on the "Exterior Door Location Map." The view looks approximately west-southwest. 

Photograph of rear (yard) area, circa 1982
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Hoover Universal Saline Die Casting facility yard circa 1982

This view of the Hoover Universal Saline Die Casting facility site is centered on the unpaved western edge of the property. The far baseball diamond in Curtiss Park can be seen in the distance. By way of orientation, the long-ish section of building visible to the right (distinguished by the overhead door) is the "Unheated Warehouse."

  • The larger silver-colored masses piled against the side of the Unheated Warehouse are castings scrap
  • The brown barrels seen around the property are believed to contain powdered chemicals
  • The green and red barrels seen around the property are believed to contain liquid chemicals

.
In 1982, scrap production from the Hanson Plater was kept in the area visible in this photograph just beyond the two trucks.

Canopus Sampling & Analytical Results map for site, 2006
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Canopus Sampling & Analytical Results map for 232 Monroe Street, Saline Michigan, 2006

This is Figure 2 from the "Brownfield Plan for The Banks of Saline, 232 Monroe Street, Saline, Washtenaw County, Michigan," dated March 4, 2005.

  • Prepared by Canopus Environmental Group
  • Project No C5025
  • File C5017-3
Excerpt from Canopus Plan (report): 2006 findings and analysis

Also reference the following to Canopus (CEG) chart, attached above.

Previous site investigations conducted by NTH Consultants, Ltd (NTH) of Farmington Hills, Michigan and ENTACT of Chicago, Illinois resulted in the identification of elevated levels (ie, above Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act [NREPA] Part 201 residential criteria) of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs) and/or certain metals in site soils and groundwater. CEG conducted a Phase II Environmental Site Assessment (Phase II ESA) subsequent to the NTH and ENTACT investigations. The purpose of CEG's Phase II ESA (February 2005) was to (1) verify the presence of previously identified contamination in selected areas within the site of teh manufacturing building; (2) evaluate soil and/or groundwater quality at selected locations not previously investigated; and (3) evaluate surface water and sediment quality in the vicinity of a storm water outfall located south of teh manufacturing building.

Laboratory analysis of selected samples collected during CEG's Phase II ESA confirmed the presence of certain VOCs (specifically cis-1,2-Dichloroethene [cis-1,2-DCE] and vinyl chloride), and/or metals (specifically nickel and selenium) in soils and/or groundwater at concentrations exceeding NREPA Part 201 Generic Residential Drinking Water Protection or Residential Drinking Water criteria.

Based on observed site conditions and analytical data obtained during teh CEG February 2005 Phase II ESA, as well as evaluation of the soil and groundwater quality data collected by NTH and ENTACT, it is the opinion of CEG that residual contamination remains at the site at concentrations exceeding NREPA Part 201 Generic Residentail Criteria. Therefore, the site qualifies as a 'facility' under NREPA Part 201 guidelines.

— complete "Washtenaw County Brownfield Development Authority: Brownfield Plan for The Banks of Saline, 232 Monroe Street, Saline, Washtenaw County, Michigan," prepared by Canopus Environmental Group (Project No C5025, May 10, 2006 Plan, revised May 25, 2006) is available online.

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