The 75-acre Cannelton Industries site is a former tannery facility located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, in Sault Sainte Marie, Chippewa County. Land use in the area is predominantly residential and light industrial, with 400 single-family residences and an elementary school located within 1/2 mile of the site. Nearby residents and the school are connected to the City's municipal water system, the source of which is the Saint Marys River intake, 1 mile upstream of the Cannelton site. The Saint Marys River, which is used both as a drinking water source and for recreational purposes, is adjacent to the lower area of the site. Part of the site lies within the 100-year floodplain of the river, and several wetlands areas surround the site. Additionally, the site overlies two aquifers that are hydraulically connected. From 1900 to 1958, Northwestern Leather Company operated a tannery facility onsite. The plant had no sewer system, and three drains discharged approximately 250,000 gallons per day of chemical waste to the Saint Marys River and adjacent wetlands.