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U.S. EPA REGION 5
LAKE COUNTY
WAUKEGAN

Congressional District # 10

JOHNS-MANVILLE CORP.

EPA ID# ILD005443544
Last Updated: May, 2014

Site Description

The Johns-Manville site is an approximately 150-acre asbestos disposal area located in Waukegan, Lake County, Illinois.   Approximately 3 million cubic yards of off-specification products and wastewater sludge, containing asbestos, and to a lesser degree, lead, chromium, and thorium, were disposed in the eastern area of the 300-acre Johns-Manville property. The disposal area is approximately 25 to 30 feet above grade. The site is located in an industrial area, and the nearest residential area is about one half mile northwest of the site. The population of Waukegan is 67,500. The site is bordered by Lake Michigan and the Illinois Beach State Park, both of which are used for recreation. Studies conducted at the site indicated that airborne asbestos presented the greatest potential risk. Johns-Manville ceased operations onsite in summer 1998.  All former manufacturing buildings were demolished in 2000-2001.

Site Responsibility

This site is being addressed through potentially responsible party (PRP) actions.

Threats and Contaminants

Air sampled in the vicinity of the site contained asbestos fibers. Groundwater contained asbestos, arsenic, and several volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Waste materials and sludge were contaminated with asbestos, heavy metals, and VOCs. The most significant threat to public health prior to cleanup was the inhalation of asbestos fibers. The site was dusty during dry periods and posed health concerns to the surrounding communities and to the onsite workers. No one ingested the contaminated groundwater; however, past levels of asbestos in onsite groundwater monitoring wells exceeded the maximum contaminant level under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Cleanup Progress

A Record of Decision (ROD) was signed in 1987. In 1988, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA), Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA), and Manville Corporation entered into a consent decree (CD) to conduct the remedial design and remedial action (RD/RA) at the site. The cleanup activities that were implemented included placement of a 24-inch soil cover with vegetation over all dry waste areas; paving of two parking lot areas contaminated with asbestos; resurfacing site roadways with a 24-inch cover; and providing rip rap along all operating wastewater treatment ponds. Construction activities began in November 1988 and after two enforcement actions, including collection of a $38,000 stipulated penalty (for late submission of documents) and a $165,000 civil penalty (for improper grading activities), the RA proceeded smoothly until its completion in August 1991. Additional work was included in the RA when further contamination was discovered during site clearing activities. Ultimately, approximately 3 million cubic yards of asbestos-containing waste that was spread over approximately 150 acres was provided with a cover that virtually eliminated the potential for releases of asbestos to the air. The total cost of the RA was approximately $20,000,000, including the additional work. Currently, operation and maintenance (O&M) activities, such as soil cover maintenance and groundwater monitoring, continue at the site. Contingency plans are in place in case the soil cover fails or the groundwater or surface water become contaminated with levels that exceed applicable standards.

After Johns-Manville ceased operations on-site in summer 1998, U.S. EPA issued an explanation of significant differences in September 2000 which required the closure of the former wastewater treatment ponds and the miscellaneous disposal pit (which received non-asbestos-containing wastes).  Closure of these ponds is proceeding in accordance with the First Amended Consent Decree which was entered in court in December 2004.  Investigation of the former manufacturing area is being addressed through IEPA's Voluntary Clean-up Program. Construction on the first of three phases of pond and disposal pit closure began in 2005 and is ongoing.  The former settling basin has been dewatered and covered.  Since 1998, seven additional areas, all of which contained asbestos-containing material (ACM) were discovered outside of the Johns-Manville fence line. These areas have been characterized by Johns-Manville. In 2002, the largest of the sites was cleaned up under an EPA-funded removal action. EPA issued an enforcement action memorandum for the Southwestern Site Area in November 2012.  Johns Manville filed a notice of dispute and EPA resolved the dispute in its letter dated September 18, 2013. 

Construction of the final drainage system for the Settling Basin is expected to be completed in Spring 2014.  The clean up of the Southwestern Site Area and the filling and proper capping of the industrial canal, pumping lagoon, and collection basin are scheduled to begin in Summer 2014. 

EPA issued the fourth five-year review in May 2013.  Previous five-year reviews were completed on January 21, 1999, May 2, 2003, and May 1, 2008. EPA's May 2013 five-year review recommended that JM continue the investigation of the arsenic plume and propose a response action to address it.  At Site 2 (OU 2) EPA's five year review recommended that JM determine the extent of contamination, remove any ACM above 3 feet in depth and determine the need for further response action.  The response actions are being designed for Sites 3, 4, 5 and 6 (OUs 3, 4, and 8, which together are also known as the Southwestern Site Area).  Response actions have not yet been selected at Site 1 (OU6, also referred to as the Nature Preserve Road). EPA's five-year review stated that additional sampling would be conducted. 

The following paragraphs are the protectiveness statements from the May 2013 five year review.

JM Waste Disposal Area (OU 1):

The remedy at the JM Waste Disposal Area is expected to be protective of human health and the environment once all remedial actions have been implemented. Except for the industrial canal, pumping lagoon and collection basin, the Waste Disposal Area has been closed and provided with the vegetative cover required by the ROD. There is no evidence of breach of the existing cover and there is currently no land or groundwater use at the property. ICs are in place and currently effective to prohibit inappropriate uses of the Site or groundwater. The remedy is functioning as intended because no inappropriate land or groundwater uses are occurring. The design and closure of the industrial canal, pumping lagoon and the collection basin are currently underway. The interim remedy for the ponds is to maintain the water level in the pumping lagoon and industrial canal and soil cover in the collection basin such that no asbestos fibers will become exposed to the air. Long-term protectiveness requires compliance with effective ICs and implementation and maintenance of all remedy components. Long-term stewardship is needed to monitor and maintain ICs and the Site remedy components.

Site 2 (OU 2):

The remedy for OU 2 is protective in the short-term. ACM was removed to a depth of 2 to 3 feet below ground surface. There is no evidence of breach of the existing backfill and there is currently no land or groundwater use at the property. However, for the remedy to be protective in the long-term, the following actions need to be taken: additional investigation of ACM in Site 2, and implementation of an additional response action if needed.

Sitewide:

The remedy is considered protective of human health and the environment in the short-term because the JM Waste Disposal Area, except for the industrial canal, pumping lagoon and collection basin, has been closed and provided with the vegetative cover required by the ROD. There is no evidence of breach of the existing cover and there is currently no land or groundwater use at the property. ICs are in place and currently effective to prohibit inappropriate uses of the Site or groundwater. The remedy is functioning as intended because no inappropriate land or groundwater uses are occurring. The design and closure of the industrial canal, pumping lagoon and the collection basin are currently underway. The interim remedy is to maintain the water level in the pumping lagoon and industrial canal and soil cover in the collection basin such that no asbestos fibers will become exposed to the air. At Site 2, ACM was removed to a depth of 2 to 3 feet below ground surface. There is no evidence of breach of the existing backfill and there is currently no land or groundwater use. Remedies have not been selected for OUs 05 and 06 so they have not been evaluated as part of this review. EPA has selected response actions for OUs 03, 04 and 08, but the response actions have not yet been initiated and thus were not evaluated as part of this review.

To be protective in the long-term, the following actions need to be taken: additional investigation of ACM at Site 2 and implementation of an additional response action if needed; compliance with effective ICs; and full implementation and maintenance of all remedy components in the decision documents for the Site. Long-term stewardship is needed to monitor and maintain ICs and the Site remedy components.

Success Story

The cleanup of the Johns-Manville Site proceeded quickly from its listing on the National Priorities List to the completion of the soil cover over the landfill area of the Site in 1991 and the final cover on the Settling Basin in 2010.

Community Involvement

The level of community interest has varied over time.  Issues with asbestos-containing materials (ACM) have arisen at the Illinois Beach State Park, which is located to the north of the Site.  This ACM is being addressed separately by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. 

U.S. EPA held a public comment period including a public open house for the "Southwestern Site Area" cleanup plan on February 22, 2012.

Congressional Interest

Congressional interest in the Site has been minimal to date.  There has been some congressional interest in the presence of ACM at the Illinois Beach State Park.  This ACM is being addressed separately by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

Contacts

Remedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA
matthew ohl (ohl.matthew@epa.gov)
(312) 886-4442

Community Involvement Coordinator, U.S. EPA
Heriberto Leon
(312) 886-6163

Aliases

JOHNS MANVILLE

 

Site Profile Information

This profile provides you with information on EPA's cleanup progress at this Superfund site.

 


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