Superfund Information Systems: Site Profile

Superfund Site:

FEDERATED METALS CORP WHITING
HAMMOND, IN

Cleanup Activities

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Background

The Federated Metals Corporation site is a former metal smelting and refining facility, encompassing approximately 19 acres, in Hammond, Indiana. The site consists of two land parcels, a 9-acre former smelter and a 10-acre landfill near the shore of Lake George.

From 1937 through 1983, Federal Metals Corporation (FMC) operated in the border of Hammond and Whiting, Indiana as a smelting, refining, recovery and recycling facility for a variety of non-ferrous metals such as copper, lead, zinc. In 1985, FMC sold a 17-acre portion of the facility containing the main manufacturing building to HBR Partnership. Since then, a number of businesses have operated in various outbuildings at the facility. Since 2007, two related companies - Northern Indiana Metals and Whiting Metals - have owned the former FMC manufacturing building and have conducted lead smelting operations there.

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What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?

From 2001 to 2006, the smelter property was subject to a $3.35 million federal Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA) corrective action/Indiana State RCRA closure project that is nearly complete. This work included demolition of an on-site baghouse; consolidation of debris, on-site hazardous wastes and slag dredged from Lake George into the landfill; and construction of a phyto-cap, a remedy technology which consists of growing selected plants and trees on top of a landfill.

In December 2005, ASARCO declared bankruptcy and abandoned the site before the RCRA corrective action was completed. A federal bankruptcy court ultimately allocated $1.2 million to a federal Trustee to complete the corrective action. To date the Trustee has spent approximately $500,000 to install groundwater monitoring wells, conduct groundwater monitoring, and develop plans for replanting and revegetating the landfill cover. The remaining tasks are revegetation of the landfill cover and additional groundwater monitoring and sampling to assure that the phyto-cap is performing successfully

At the request of EPA’s RCRA program, in late 2016 and early 2017 EPA’s Superfund Division sampled soils at city-owned properties and right-of-ways in Hammond and Whiting to determine if heavy metals from the former Federated Metals Corporation (FMC) facility had contaminated the surrounding residential areas. The results showed some lead and arsenic contamination at unoccupied properties in the community.

In May 2017, EPA sampled the former facility’s landfill in order to determine whether contamination found in the community is from the former smelter.  The analysis showed a link between materials found in the landfill and materials found in the soils to the north of the site. These combined endeavors led EPA to define a new soil sampling area that included occupied residential properties.

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What Is the Current Site Status?

EPA will continue to work with the State of Indiana, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM), Lake County and the Cities of Whiting and Hammond to protect human health and the Environment in the area.

  •  May 23, 2018 EPA held a public meeting at the Whiting Family YMCA on Clark St. to share with community members the latest activities taking place near the Federated Metals Corp. site. Federated Metals Site Layout Map (PDF) (1 pp, 20 MB, About PDF) 
  • At the end of May 2018, in accordance with the April 2018 Action Memorandum (PDF) (27pp, 6.07MB), EPA began excavating soil at residences where lead is equal to or exceeds 1,200 mg/kg at the surface and sensitive populations reside. For this project, sensitive populations is defined as pregnant women and children under the age of 7. Soil excavations are also being evaluated in properties where a child has a blood lead level of 10 μg/dL or higher. Excavated soil is being replaced with clean soil.  Upon request EPA continues to sample properties in the residential soil sampling area (PDF) (1 pg, 841 K).  
  • In April 2018 EPA performed a follow up round of residential soil sampling outside the initial sampling area to better identify the extent of lead contamination in the area.  The sampling results were mailed out the to the property owners.
  • In October 2017 EPA along with the cities of Hammond and Whiting informed local residents of a sampling study that was taking place in residential properties to obtain a better understanding of the levels of arsenic and lead in the soil. The results showed that the soil in some of the properties sampled had lead above EPA’s Removal Management Levels or RMLs.  RMLs help identify, areas, contaminants and conditions where a removal action may be appropriate.  Sites with contaminant concentrations above RMLs may not necessarily warrant a removal action. Additional factors such as background concentrations, the use of site-specific scenarios and other program considerations are also taken into account.

 

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Sampling and Monitoring

Residential soil sampling data is now available for the Federated Metals Superfund site.

 

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