U.S. SMELTER AND LEAD REFINERY, INC.
EAST CHICAGO, IN
On this page:
- What Is the Current Site Status?
- Sampling and Monitoring
- Emergency Response and Removal
- Operable Units (opens new page)
- Cleanup Progress (opens new page)
The USS Lead Superfund Site is located in East Chicago, Indiana. The site includes part of the former USS Lead facility along with nearby commercial, municipal and residential areas. The site is made up of two areas called “operable units.” Operable Unit 1, or OU1, is a 322-acre residential area bounded by East Chicago Avenue on the north, East 151st Street on the south, the Indiana Harbor Canal on the west and Parrish Avenue on the east. OU2 is the former USS Lead facility on 151st Street. EPA often divides sites into OUs based on how the land was used, in this case residential versus industrial use.
To facilitate negotiations with potentially responsible parties, EPA divided the residential part (OU1) of the USS Lead Superfund Site into three zones:
- Zone 1: A neighborhood that includes the West Calumet Housing Complex and Carrie Gosch Elementary School
- Zone 2: The residential area of the Calumet neighborhood located between the West Calumet Housing Complex on the west, the Elgin Joliet and Eastern Railway on the east, E. 151st Street to the south and E. Chicago Avenue to the north.
- Zone 3: A neighborhood located between the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railway Line on the west, Parrish Avenue on the east, East 149th Place to the south and E. Chicago Avenue to the north
The division of OU1 into three zones enabled EPA and the State of Indiana to secure in 2014 an agreement with Atlantic Richfield Co. and E.I. Du Pont De Nemours and Co. to pay 100 percent of the costs incurred to implement the cleanup in Zone 1 and Zone 3. EPA is continuing its efforts to identify additional parties who might be potentially responsible for the cleanup of Zone 2. Once it has concluded these efforts, EPA will engage in negotiations with all known viable and liable parties.
What Is the Current Site Status?
As winter approaches, EPA has shut down most sampling and cleanup activities in the residential areas near the USS Lead Superfund site. Sampling, excavation and restoration will resume in the spring. In the meantime, EPA will continue to update local public information repositories with site documents, present community workshops on the Superfund Program and mail updates to residents. Visit the USS Lead Superfund Site for current information.
Sampling and Monitoring
From August through the first week of November, at the West Calumet Housing Complex, EPA officials:
- Surveyed homes to get access agreements to conduct indoor sampling.
- Sampled around 270 homes to determine indoor lead levels.
- Temporarily relocated about 270 households to hotels and cleaned their homes.
On Nov. 1 EPA workers began cleanup activities in Zone 2 to manage elevated lead and arsenic levels in residential soil. EPA first worked on the properties with high lead and arsenic levels in the top 6 inches of soil.
In total, EPA excavated, backfilled and restored 17 properties during November. Cleanup actions have stopped for the winter months but will continue in the spring. Along with yard cleanups, EPA offered indoor dust sampling to residents. Dust was collected and tested for lead and arsenic. Houses that have results above safe levels will be scheduled for an indoor cleaning beginning in December.
EPA is continuing to conduct soil sampling in Zone 2 to develop engineering plans for the cleanup of the entire site. To date, EPA has sampled soil from 476 of the 596 properties in Zone 2. Soil sampling will occur occasionally through the winter months as weather permits and access is granted on the few remaining properties.
Before soil cleanup resumes in 2017, EPA officials will meet with each property owner to discuss details of the work on their property. In general, workers will dig up and remove contaminated soil about 2-feet deep and replace it with clean soil, including 6 inches of topsoil. Then they will put sod on the clean soil, restoring each yard to its original condition. All work will be done at no cost to the homeowner. Contaminated soil from Zone 2 will be transported to a licensed landfill for proper disposal.
The Calumet neighborhood, or Zone 3 of the site, contains 468 properties. EPA received access agreements and sampled soil at 418 of the Zone 3 properties. After sampling, EPA notified the property owners of their results. If your property was sampled and you have not received your results, contact EPA project managers Tim Drexler or Tom Alcamo (see box, Page 1). Soil in some of the sampled Zone 3 properties contains high levels of lead and arsenic. In October, EPA workers began cleanup of the 38 most contaminated Zone 3 properties under an agreement with the potentially responsible parties. Completion of that work is planned by mid-December. About 200 additional properties will be cleaned in the spring.
Before the 2017 work begins, EPA officials will meet with each property owner to discuss cleanup details. In general, workers will dig up and remove contaminated soil about 2-feet deep and replace it with clean soil, including 6 inches of topsoil. Then they will put sod on the clean soil, restoring each yard to its original condition. All work will be done at no cost to the homeowner. Contaminated soil will be transported to a licensed landfill for proper disposal.
EPA also conducted indoor dust sampling, primarily at the properties identified with the most contaminated soil. Some of the sampled homes had lead and arsenic levels above safe levels. EPA began cleaning these homes in November to remove contaminated dust. EPA officials will continue to offer the same service to other Zone 3 homes that have tainted dust.
Emergency Response and Removal
EPA is investigating high lead levels in areas of the West Calumet Housing Complex.
Brad Benning, on-scene coordinator
312-353-7613 or email@example.com
During cleanup, a site can be divided into a number of distinct areas depending on its complexity. These areas, called operable units (OUs), may address geographic areas, specific problems, or areas where a specific action is required. Examples of typical operable units include construction of a groundwater pump and treatment system or construction of a cap over a landfill.