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EPA Adds Illinois Sites to Superfund Priorities List

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has added the Chemetco site, a closed copper smelter in Hartford, Ill., and the Lake Calumet Cluster site in Chicago to the Superfund National Priorities List.

Superfund is the federal program that investigates and cleans up the most complex and uncontrolled hazardous waste sites in the U.S.

The Chemetco site is on Illinois Route 3 in Madison County, about 2 mi south of Hartford. It was a secondary copper smelter from 1969 to 2001 before filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy. More than 500,000 cu yds of processing slag, sludge and other hazardous materials were left on portions of the 41-acre site.

Elevated levels of the heavy metals copper, cadmium, lead and zinc have been found in adjacent wetlands and in the sediment of nearby Long Lake.

Chemetco was proposed for addition to the NPL in September 2009. Now that the site is on the list, Chemetco is eligible for further analysis and development of cleanup options by EPA in partnership with Illinois EPA.

The 87-acre Lake Calumet Cluster site, on Chicago’s southeast side, is composed of four separate parcels.

The Cluster site is bounded by the Land and Lakes Landfill to the west, 122nd Street to the south, the Norfolk Southern Railroad right-of-way and Indian Ridge Marsh to the east, and the Paxton I & II Landfills to the north.

The site was originally a wetland that was used for disposal of steel mill slag and industrial, chemical and municipal waste from the 1940s to 1970s. Environmental concerns include contaminated soil and contaminated surface water runoff from the site into the adjacent wetland areas.

The wetlands are used by at least 14 federal or state endangered or threatened species. From 1983 to 1985, and in 1990, EPA performed limited-scope cleanups including drum removals. The Cluster site was proposed for addition to the NPL in September 2005. In 2007-08, Illinois EPA began construction of a landfill cap.

Now that the Cluster site is on the NPL, Illinois EPA can use federal money to complete the cap and investigate the extent of contaminated groundwater at the site.


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