aircraft components (d & l sales)


The Aircraft Components, Inc. ("ACI") site is located on the outskirts of Benton Harbor at 671 North Shore Drive in Benton Township, Berrien Country, Michigan. The site is a 17-acre parcel of land bounded on the south and southeast by the Paw Paw River, to the east by a wooded area, to the west by North Shore Drive, and to the north by Ridgeway Drive. The site is primarily flat, although Ridgeway Drive, which marks the northern boundary of the site, is located atop a steep 50-foot bluff. Prior to cleanup, the bluff was littered with discarded household appliances, tires, and other items that indicated unrestricted dumping. A narrow grassy bank drops down about 10 feet to the Paw Paw River along the south and southeastern boundary of the site. The eastern part of the ACI site is wooded and includes several wetlands. A culvert that drains a spring from the Ridgeway Road area at the top of the bluff discharges into the wetlands. iOriginally, the western portion of the ACI site had five interconnected buildings on it. Four of the buildings were partially-dilapidated, single-story brick structures with concrete basements. One building was a two-story glass sided structure with a concrete basement. The site also had two Quonset huts and other miscellaneous structures on it. Constructed in the 1910s, the main buildings were used by various manufacturing concerns, including a plating facility, until the mid-1950s. Aircraft Components, Inc., a mail-order airplane parts resale business, then occupied the property until the site was sold to D&L Sales, Inc., in the early 1990s. Aircraft Components bought and sold World War II-era military aircraft gauges and other components and used the ACI site as a warehousing, storage, and shipping center. Some of the aircraft gauges are marked with luminescent paint containing radium-226, a naturally-occurring radionuclide. Natural decay of radium-226 causes radio-emissions of alpha particles, beta particles, and gamma radiation and the formation of radon-222, all of which are health hazards. Site investigations showed that some of the luminescent paint was beginning to deteriorate into a powder. This meant that the radium-226 could leak out of the aircraft gauges into the environment and could create an inhalation risk to anyone who handled them. U.S. EPA divided the site into two discrete phases, or "operable units," for the purpose of more easily managing the site-wide cleanup. The two phases at the ACI site are referred to as the "radiation operable unit" and the "chemical operable unit." The radiation operable unit addressed the cleanup of radium-226, and the chemical operable unit addressed the cleanup of non-radioactive contaminants.

Hazardous Ranking Score

0 / 100

A score of 28.5 or higher qualifies a site for the Superfund National Priority List.

Regional Contact

Region 5
Phone: (312) 353-2000

Contact Region



Site Inspection
Preliminary Assessment
Final Listing On NPL

Contaminants & Health Effects

      Endocrine Disrupter
      Reproductive Toxin
      Persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic


        African American
        American Indian and Alaska Native
        Native Hawaiian


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        within a 1 mile radius


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