Community Involvement Coordinator
312-353-6196 or 800-621-8431, ext. 36196
Remedial Project Manager
312-886-6148 or 800-621-8431, ext. 66148
Illinois Department of Public Health
Illinois Department of Public Health
(where to view written records)
Hartford Public Library
143 W. Hawthorne
Chemetco was a secondary copper smelting facility which operated from 1970 to 2001. Mainly they produced copper cathodes and anodes. The company owned more than 230 acres of land; however, the smelting operation occupied about 41 acres of the property.
The Chemetco Superfund site is located in Chouteau Township, just south of the Village of Hartford, in Madison County, Illinois. The 41-acre smelter site is currently fenced and access to the site is restricted by order of the Illinois EPA.
On Sept. 18, 1996, Illinois EPA discovered a discharge pipe during an inspection of Chemetco. The pipe ran to the south to a tributary of Long Lake, and generally parallel to Illinois Route 3. The pipe appeared to be a 10-inch line and was illegally discharging zinc oxide to a drainage ditch just south of the facility. It is believed this discharge had been going on for 10 years before it was discovered. Samples collected from the outfall area showed high levels of cadmium, copper, lead and zinc.
After the discovery, Chemetco was required to clean up the area. While digging up the area, layers of zinc oxide material were found to a depth of 6 feet in nearby Long Lake.
On October 31, 2001, the facility shut down and on November 13, 2001 Chemetco filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. At that time, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Illinois appointed a trustee to oversee the property. On December 7, 2001, Illinois EPA issued an order that restricts public access to most of the site and prohibits anyone except authorized personnel from entering the site.
The Chemetco site was placed on the National Priorities list in March 2010.
You will need the free Adobe Reader to view some of the files on this page. See EPA's PDF page to learn more.
Since 2008, under an Interim Order with the State of Illinois, the Bankruptcy Trustee and Paradigm Minerals & Environmental Services, a prospective purchaser for the site acting as a performing contractor, have made numerous improvements to the site. They demolished and scrapped the main foundry building and the interior of the tank house. This involved the salvage of over 3,700 tons of metals associated with the former structures and disposal of over 26,000 gallons of oils and liquids in addition to over 1,100 tons of waste. The Foundry building had housed the smelting furnaces that Chemetco used and was the largest building on the site. The old American Air Filter system area and the bag-house structures were also demolished. The demolition project was completed in December 2011 with oversight from Illinois EPA and EPA.
The Bankruptcy Trustee also executed asset sales that significantly reduced the presence of over 11,000 tons and 4,000 gallons of potentially contaminated source material. The trustee sold three of the facility’s four furnaces and “clean-closed” two RCRA solid waste management units at the facility (the American Air Filter System and Brick Shop).
In November 2011, EPA issued General Notice Letters to 115 potentially responsible parties (PRPs), notifying them that they may be responsible for clean up at the site. In December 2011, EPA hosted an information session for recipients of the notice letters to describe the Superfund process, the site, and their potential liability. In 2012, EPA and a limited group of PRPs (the Data Group) met three times to address site records issues, such as preservation and security. With support from the Estate of Chemetco and in collaboration with EPA, the Data Group consolidated, inventoried, and secured records and files left at the facility so that they can be safely preserved. As of March 2013, EPA and the Data Group have met four times in collaboration on revising the Materials-In Database, which is a tool for establishing and allocating liability for investigation and/or clean up costs.
Looking ahead, EPA intends to negotiate with PRPs to reach an agreement for performing a Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study (RI/FS) for the Chemetco site. The RI/FS will define the nature and extent of contamination at the site and evaluate options for cleaning it up.
Meanwhile, EPA, the state of Illinois, the Trustee for the Estate of Chemetco, and Paradigm Minerals and Environmental Services (a prospective purchaser at the site) are negotiating a Consent Decree to implement certain future work at the site and resolve past civil claims against Chemetco.
- Anyone who would like to request copies of the responses to EPA’s Information Requests, please contact Remedial Project Manager Michelle Kerr (see the Contact Information box in the upper right section of this web page).
- Photos: Attention General Notice letter recipients (PDF) (419pp, 33MB) - January 2012
- Chemetco Community Involvement Plan (PDF) (26pp, 13K) - June 2011
- Chemetco map (PDF) (1pp, 355K) June 2011
- ATSDR Health Consultation for the Chemetco site - April 2004
- Federal Register - Final Rule (PDF) (9pp, 80K) March 4, 2010