EPA Plans More Soil Sampling in Yards by feltonhuggins


									                                          EPA Plans More Soil
                                          Sampling in Yards
                                          Hegeler Zinc Superfund Site
                                          Hegeler, Illinois                                                   May 2009

                                          U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 will be doing another
Informational meetings
                                          round of soil sampling this summer or fall in yards and properties near the
EPA and other state and local officials   former Hegeler Zinc smelter. The samples will be tested for arsenic and other
will be available on Thursday,            metals. In December 2007, 107 properties were tested. The results of that
May 28, at Westville High School,         investigation provided a first look at metal levels in the soil but did not reveal
918 N. State St., to respond to your      enough information to determine conclusively whether the contamination
questions and comments regarding          came from the Hegeler Zinc site.
the Hegeler Zinc cleanup process and
the sampling efforts.                     EPA needs residents and property owners to sign access agreements before
9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. – Informal open        the Agency can take more samples. The sampling work will be done at no
house in the school district board        cost to property owners. EPA has scheduled informational meetings all day on
room where you can meet one-on-           Thursday, May 28, to discuss the latest sampling project and update people
one with environmental and health         on the Hegeler Zinc cleanup (see adjacent box for meeting information).
                                          2007 sampling results
6 p.m. – 8 p.m. – Formal presentation     In the December 2007 project EPA collected samples from 77 residential
in the school cafeteria.                  and 30 vacant properties in the site neighborhood. One soil sample was
                                          collected from each property and analyzed for lead. According to EPA health
                                          guidelines, residential yards should contain no more than 400 parts lead
These Hegeler Zinc site team              per million parts soil. (A part per million or ppm is a tiny amount, similar
members are available to answer           to 1 second in 12 days.) Only five properties showed lead concentrations
questions or provide more                 slightly above the 400 ppm level. Health officials believe the risks to
information about the soil sampling:      residents living near the site are low enough that no immediate action is
Colleen Moynihan                          required. Lead can affect children the most, so families concerned about
EPA Remedial Project Manager              blood lead levels can get preliminary screenings at the Vermillion County
312-353-8196                              Health Department for $30 or with Medicaid. The screenings are offered to
moynihan.colleen@epa.gov                  children aged 6 months to 6 years.
Virginia Narsete                          2009 residential soil sampling
EPA Community Involvement
                                          Samples taken in this year’s summer and fall project will be analyzed for
                                          arsenic and other metals as well as lead. Letters to affected residents were
                                          sent out recently explaining the sampling and asking for help in returning
                                          signed access agreements. Access agreements can also be dropped off at the
Region 5 toll-free: 800-621-8431,         May 28 meetings. This year’s sampling will be a little more elaborate than
8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., weekdays           the 2007 project. Five samples will be taken in each back yard and five more
Kolby Riggle                              in the front yard. Small plugs of grass and soil will be dug up, some of the
Environmental Health Director             soil scraped off for the sample and the plug replaced. Yards will be left in
Vermilion County Health Department        their original condition.
                                          Site history
www.vchd.org                              While EPA plans this new 2009 soil sampling project in residential
                                          neighborhoods, the Agency continues the process to clean up the Hegeler
                                          Zinc site. However, long-term cleanup has been complicated by the
                                          bankruptcy of Millennium Petrochemicals, one of the parties potentially
                                          responsible for the pollution.
Figure 1 – Hegeler Zinc circa 1940

The 100-acre location, three miles south of Danville, Ill.,           A remedial investigation is an extensive study to determine
and west of the village of Hegeler in Vermilion County,               what kind and how much contamination is present. The
operated as a zinc smelter from 1906 until 1955. The                  remedial investigation for this site concluded soil and
facility produced zinc products as well as sulfuric acid for          sediment contamination on the site was bad enough that it
industrial uses. Large amounts of slag waste was produced             should be cleaned up to reduce potential human exposure
in the furnaces and stored on-site. The slag contains metals          to pollution. On a positive note, the study also found
such as lead, arsenic and zinc. EPA and state partner                 residents living near the location are facing no immediate
Illinois EPA collected samples and tested soil, sediment              health threat.
(mud) and underground water supplies (ground water) on
the site. In 2002 a chain link fence was installed around the         Divided site
property to deter trespassers. In 2005 the site was added             Complex cleanup sites are often divided into smaller,
to the National Priorities List, a roster of the nation’s most        more manageable sections called “operable units” or OUs.
hazardous waste sites eligible for cleanup under EPA’s                The Hegeler Zinc site is divided into three OUs. OU1
Superfund program.                                                    covers the former Hegeler Zinc property and includes
                                                                      areas of soil, surface water, sediment, and ground water
EPA completed an in-depth study called a “remedial                    contamination. OU2 includes the areas of surface water
investigation” of the Hegeler Zinc Superfund site in 2007.            and sediment affected outside the EPA-constructed fence.
                                                                      This includes Grape Creek, an unnamed tributary, and any
   For more information                                               site- and stream-related pesticide contamination source
                                                                      yet to be identified outside the fence. OU3 includes the
   Official documents about the Hegeler Zinc Superfund
                                                                      residential area, generally east of the former Hegeler Zinc
   site can be viewed at the Danville Public Library,
                                                                      property, located in the Hegeler neighborhood from West
   319 N. Vermilion St.; and the Westville Public
                                                                      Hegeler Lane east to include Third Street.
   Library, 233 S. State St.
                                                                      Responsible parties
   Web site:
                                                                      EPA has identified several “potentially responsible
                                                                      parties” or PRPs for the Hegeler Zinc Superfund site.

Figure 2 – Slag pile

PRPs are entities that may bear legal and financial                study.” This study will look at ways the site can be cleaned
responsibility for a Superfund cleanup. EPA negotiated             up effectively and will propose and evaluate cleanup
two separate administrative orders with the PRPs at the            options. The feasibility study for the Hegeler Zinc site is
site - one order for OUs 1 and 3 and another order for             expected by 2011.
OU2. These administrative orders set out the framework
for the completion of environmental studies at the site            EPA will pick one of the cleanup options as its
and proposals for cleanup steps that would be taken. The           recommended alternative. All of the options and EPA’s
administrative order for OU2 is currently in the approval          preferred alternative will be explained in a document
process at EPA.                                                    called a “proposed plan.” Residents and local officials will
                                                                   get a chance to comment on the proposed plan at a public
New developments                                                   hearing and during a comment period before EPA picks a
The administrative order for OUs 1 and 3 encountered a             final cleanup plan.
serious snag and must be re-negotiated due to the recent
                                                                   Technical assistance grants
bankruptcy of a PRP. Millennium Petrochemicals Inc.
along with its corporate parent Lyondell Chemical Co.              The technical assistance grant program provides up to
are now in the bankruptcy process. Millennium was a                $50,000 to community groups to hire technical advisers
significant PRP for the main part of the Hegeler Zinc site.        so citizens can better understand and interpret Superfund-
Because of the bankruptcy, Millennium is no longer paying          site related technical information. Groups must represent
for cleanup work.                                                  the entire community, hire reputable advisers to review
                                                                   and interpret technical information in lay terms, and use
EPA plans to pursue a claim in bankruptcy court for the            the grant money to inform everyone rather than only
cleanup costs, but bankruptcy claims usually pay only a            group members. A grant may be available for interested
small percentage of the total costs.                               stakeholders at the Hegeler Zinc site. To learn more
                                                                   contact Virginia Narsete.
Next steps
The next step in the Superfund cleanup process after
a remedial investigation is what is called a “feasibility


                    Upcoming Public Meeting about
                     Hegeler Zinc Superfund Site
                                      Thursday, May 28
                                     Westville High School
                                       918 N. State St.

      9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. – Informal open house in the school district board room
      where you can meet one-on-one with environmental and health officials.

      6 p.m. – 8 p.m. - Formal presentation in the school cafeteria.

                         This fact sheet is printed on paper made of recycled fibers.
                EPA Plans More Soil Sampling in Yards
                  HEgELER ZINC SUPERFUND SITE:

                                    RETURN SERVICE REQUESTED


To top