American Chemical Service, Inc. (ACS) began as a solvent recovery facility in May 1955. In the late 1960's and early 1970's, small batches of chemicals were manufactures at ACS. Specific chemicals manufactured included barium naphthenate, brominated vegetable oil, lacquers and paints, liquid soldering fluid, and polyethylene solutions in polybutene. These early manufacturing operations included bromination, treating rope with a fungicide, and treating ski cable.
Two on-site incinerators burned still bottoms, non-reclaimable materials generated from the site, and off-site wastes. The first incinerator started operating in 1966, the second in 1969, and burned about two million gallons of industrial waste per year. The incinerators were dismantled in the 1970's. The shells were cut up and scrapped; the burners and blowers remain on-site.
Batch manufacturing was expanded between 1970 and 1975. Additives, lubricants, detergents and soldering flux were manufactured, and an epoxidation plant created a product called a plasticizer. Since 1975, the batch manufacturing and epoxidation plant operations have remained essentially the same.
In 1980, a 31-acre parcel of property to the west of the Off-site Contaminant Area was sold to the City of Griffith for an expansion of the city’s municipal landfill, ultimately resulting in the illegal filling of on-site wetlands. The Griffith Municipal Landfill became an active sanitary solid waste disposal facility in the 1950's. Solvent recovery operations at ACS continued until 1990, when ACS lost interim status under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) regulations due to the failure of ACS to obtain required insurance policies.
Semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs’s) such as phenol, isophorone, naphthalene, fluorene, phenanthrene, anthracene, bis (2-chloroethyl) ether, and phthalates were used and discarded at the site throughout its history.