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U.S. EPA REGION 5
COOK COUNTY
CHICAGO

Congressional District # 03

PEOPLES GAS PITNEY COURT FORMER MGP

EPA ID# ILN000510196
Last Updated: February, 2014

Site Description

The Pitney Court Station (Pitney Court) Former Manufactured Gas Plant (MGP) site is located at 3052 Pitney Court, at the intersection of Archer Avenue and Pitney Court in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois.  The 4.8 acre site is bounded to the northwest by Archer Avenue, to the northeast by Pitney Court and 31st Street, to the east by Benson Street, to the south by Chicago Plating, Inc., a chrome plating facility, and to the west by the South Fork of the South Branch of the Chicago River.  The Peoples Gas Light and Coke Company (Peoples Gas) owns the site, which is currently vacant and planned for redevelopment for residential use.  Land use in the surrounding area is mixed residential, industrial, and commercial. 

The Pitney Court site was formerly used as a production and storage facility for manufactured gas.  The Universal Gas Company began gas manufacturing operations at the site in 1897.  Peoples Gas leased the facility from Universal Gas in 1907 and purchased the Universal Gas Company in 1914.  Production operations at the site were discontinued in 1921 and the facility was dismantled in 1938.  MGP structures on the site in 1938 included a 3 million cubic foot gas holder, a 350,000 cubic foot relief gas holder, one 514,000 gallon and three 180,000 gallon oil tanks, various sized tar tanks, a coal shed, purifying house, scrubber and condenser house, a tar well, and a tar separator.  Peoples Gas sold the property in 1952 and re-purchased it in July 2005.  The property had a number of owners and was used for a variety of purposes between 1952 and 2005.

EPA is addressing the Pitney Court site under the Superfund Alternative sites program.

Site Responsibility

The Pitney Court site is being addressed through potentially responsible party (PRP) actions under state and federal oversight.

Threats and Contaminants

Groundwater beneath the site flows westerly toward the South Fork of the South Branch of the Chicago River.  An interlocking sheet pile wall is located along the western side of the site, adjacent to the South Fork.  Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), semi volatile organic compounds (SVOCs) including polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), metals, and cyanide have been detected in groundwater (sampling occurred during investigations conducted from 1995 to 2002). 

Soil impacts (coal tar, sheen, and/or staining) were also observed during the previous investigations (in soil borings and test pits).  Metals (arsenic and lead), benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene, and a number of PAHs were detected at concentrations exceeding Illinois Tier 1 screening levels in soil samples collected at the site.

Sediment samples were collected in the South Fork of the South Branch of the Chicago River, near the site, by the United States Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) Chicago District in 2004.  These samples contained PAHs, other SVOCs, VOCs, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), oil and grease, and metals.  An oily sheen was observed in sediments at two locations near the site.  The ACE findings are consistent with results obtained in earlier studies conducted by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) in 1994, the Chicago Metropolitan Water Reclamation District in 1995, and EPA in 2000.

Many of the reported concentrations of total and individual PAHs, PCBs, and metals in sediment samples collected in the South Fork suggest toxicity to organisms that live in the sediment (benthic invertebrates).  

Cleanup Progress

In 2005, U.S. EPA was approached by Wisconsin Public Service Corp. (WPSC) with a request to investigate and clean up seven former MGP sites it owned in Wisconsin under EPA’s Superfund Alternative Sites (SAS) program. The SAS Program takes sites that might otherwise be eligible for the National Priorities List (NPL), but which will be investigated and cleaned up by a cooperative PRP without formally listing the site on the NPL.  When WPSC merged with Peoples Energy to form Integrys Energy Group (Integrys), EPA was approached by Peoples Energy in 2007, to address thirteen former MGP sites in Illinois (two in Waukegan and eleven in Chicago), including the Pitney Court Station site, under the same SAS program.

EPA and Integrys entered into an Administrative Order on Consent (AOC) for Remedial Investigations and Feasibility Studies at the two Waukegan sites and an AOC for Engineering Evaluations and Cost Analyses (EE/CAs) at the eleven Chicago sites.  Since the twenty total MGP sites have similar conditions and contaminants, and Integrys is responsible for each, the agreements allow a streamlined approach to site investigation and remedy development. Some benefits of the agreement include the use of multi-site documents, a mechanism to review the adequacy of past work, and scheduling flexibility to allow progress on the "worst problems first."  By the end of 2008, all of the mult-site documents had been approved, and site-specific work had begun on several of the sites.  On October 31, 2008 EPA and Integrys entered into an AOC which converted the EE/CA AOC for the 11 Chicago former MGP sites to an RI/FS AOC.

Investigations and Remediation Previously Performed

Conditions on the site property have been investigated by a number of parties since 1990.  These investigations have reported subsurface impacts (including coal tar, staining, sheens, and odor) at various locations across the site, in some cases below groundwater levels.  An investigation performed in 1990 noted stained soils in conjunction with underground storage tank (UST) removal activities, and an investigation performed in 1995 concluded that the site was impacted by past operations based on detections of benzene and PAHs in soil and groundwater.  Surface soil staining and a sheen on ponded surface water were noted in 1998, and tar was observed at depths of up to 20 feet (below the water levels in the ground and the adjacent river) in 2000.  Additional site investigations conducted for Peoples Gas from 2002 through 2006 also found tar at varying depths. 

Site remediation activities began in 2005 under Illinois' voluntary investigation and cleanup program.  Site activities by the PRP include excavation to depths ranging from approximately 3 feet to 22 feet below ground surface.  Other site activities include daily air monitoring, continuous 24-hour perimeter air monitoring and sampling, confirmation soil sampling, and water disposal.  Prior to EPA's involvement at the site, the PRP completed excavation of impacted material in approximately 99 cells of the planned 151 excavation cells. An Administrative Order on Consent was signed by Peoples Gas in early June 2007, prompting EPA's Removal Program to begin PRP oversight activities.   

On June 13, 2008, all removal activities were completed at the site, and the site was closed. The PRP prepared and submitted a site closure report to the EPA.   The estimated total soil and debris disposal for the entire removal action at the Site was 224,243 tons. The maximum depth of excavation was 28 feet below the ground surface. The site remains zoned as Planned Manufacturing and is still owned by Peoples Gas.

In 2006, Integrys investigated the quality of the sediment in the adjacent South Fork of the Chicago River.  Several surface sediment samples collected in the South Fork had high readings, indicating the presence of coal tar impacts.  In addition, tar-saturated sediment was observed in several river boring locations, primarily at the sediment/river bottom interface.

Additional investigation of the remaining contaminants will take place under the RI/FS AOC.  Sampling for the RI is scheduled to begin in summer 2014.

Contacts

Remedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA
david linnear (linnear.david@epa.gov)
(312) 886-1841

 

 


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