The EPA is proposing to remove the radiation portion of the Aircraft Components Superfund site, once located near the 14th Hole at the Harbor Shores Golf Course in Benton Township.

BENTON TOWNSHIP — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is seeking public comment on a proposed change to a Superfund site in Benton Township.

The EPA is proposing to remove the radiation portion of the Aircraft Components Superfund site at 671 North Shore Drive, according to a news release from the EPA.

The proposal has the site remaining on the National Priority List for chemicals until “ongoing groundwater treatment and monitoring show that all regulatory standards are met.”

The deadline for comments is March 24. To make a comment, contact Danielle Kaufman at kaufman.danielle@epa.gov or call her at 312-886-6703. More information can be found on the EPA website or by calling the EPA toll-free between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on weekdays at 800-621-8431.

A portion of the 17-acre site is now home to Hole 14 of the Harbor Shores Golf Course. A craft brewery warehouse opened on the remaining part of the site in 2018.

Previously, the site was used by Aircraft Components as the company bought and sold World War II-era military aircraft gauges and other components, according to Herald-Palladium archives. The gauges were often marked with luminescent paint containing radium-226, which made them glow in the dark, but posed a health risk. When the radium-bearing paint began to flake, radioactive dust spread throughout the building.

The contamination problem was discovered in 1994 when scrap metal from the site tripped a radiation alarm at an Arkansas salvage yard. The EPA boarded up broken windows and doors in 1995 to contain the radioactive dust within the buildings. At the time, the EPA reported that radiation levels on the first floor of the main warehouse were 50 to 100 times greater than naturally occurring levels.

By 2012, the EPA had spent $20.58 million to clean up the property. At that time, a consent decree issued by the U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids allowed for houses and other buildings to be built on portions of the site if they have no basements. In addition, vapor barriers and a 12-inch base of clean soil was required.

The EPA deletes sites, or parts of sites, from the NPL only when no further cleanup is required. The cleanup of radiation portion was completed in 2003. The chemical portion of the site was cleaned up in 2004.

Exposure to radium-226 can cause anemia, cancer and death.

Contact: lwrege@TheHP.com, 932-0361, Twitter: @HPWrege

Staff Writer at The Herald-Palladium