Superfund Site Profile
The 8.3-acre South Station former manufactured gas plant (MGP) site is located near the intersection of Eleanor and Loomis streets in Chicago, Illinois. About half of the site is owned by the Peoples Gas Light and Coke Company (Peoples Gas) (Parcels A and B comprising 4 acres) and half is owned by the city of Chicago (Parcels C and D comprising 4.3 acres). The properties are bounded to the northwest by the South Branch of the Chicago River, to the southeast by Eleanor Street, and to the northeast by Loomis Street.
Parcels A and B are occupied by a storage warehouse constructed in the early 1970s. Parcels C and D were vacant, but the area experienced redevelopment due to its proximity to the river, and in 2011 EPA modified the site boundaries by removing the parcels from the site description. The city of Chicago had announced its plans to construct a boathouse facility at Parcels C and D with the intent to provide greater recreational access to the river. Otherwise, land use near the site is predominantly industrial and residential, with some residences located across Eleanor Street. A parcel map can be found here.
Peoples Gas built the MGP and storage facility in 1874. The site was used for gas manufacturing operations from 1874 to 1941, when plant operations shifted to the use of natural gas. The plant produced gas by various manufacturing processes over the years: coal gas (1874–1890); carbureted water gas (1890–1934); and oil gas (1934–1941). The plant was used as a reformed natural gas facility from 1941 to 1961. The primary MGP structures included various buildings, a 4.3 million cubic foot gas holder, a 104,000-cubic foot relief holder (which also served as a tar tank at one time), a 500,000-cubic foot relief holder, seven aboveground oil tanks, tar tanks, two large tar wells, four light oil tanks, four gas condensers, pumps and scrubbers, an underground oil tank, and three underground gas holders. The plant was retired in 1961 and the MGP structures were dismantled during the mid- to late-1960s. A portion of the site was later occupied by a wood pallet manufacturing facility.
Site investigation work is ongoing. The site is not listed on the National Priorities List (NPL) but is considered to be an NPL-caliber site and is being addressed through the Superfund Alternative Approach (SAA). The SAA program takes sites that might otherwise be eligible for the NPL, but which will be investigated and cleaned up by a cooperative potentially responsible party (PRP) without formally listing the site on the NPL.