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Congressional District # 16


EPA ID# ILD010236230
Last Updated: May, 2015

Site Description

The Byron Salvage Yard site, located in Ogle County, Illinois, encompasses both the Byron Salvage Yard (BSY) and the Dirk’s Farm Property (DFP).  During the 1960's and 1970's the site accepted drums of electroplating wastes and other materials (oil sludges, paint sludges, cutting wheels, solvents, and scrap metal).  Industrial wastes were reportedly dumped directly on the ground at the BSY and at times of heavy rainfall, the waste would be carried off the BSY by the resulting surface waste runoff.  Plating waste, containing cyanide, was also sprayed onto roads as dust control at the site.

Similar dumping practices were also carried out during the same time period at the DFP. There were four primary disposal areas on the DFP, referred to as the North, South, East, and West Disposal Areas, located 300 to 1,200 feet west of Razorville Road. Five other smaller disposal areas on the DFP were also identified.

The discovery of these dumping practices prompted a series of regulatory actions that culminated in the Site being placed on the National Priorities List (NPL) in 1982. Various Site investigation and remediation activities have been carried out at both the BSY and the DFP properties since contamination was documented. 

Approximately 5,000 people live in Byron, Illinois, and approximately 50 people live within one mile of the site.

Site Responsibility

This site has been addressed through federal and state actions.  United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) is the lead agency overseeing the Potentially Responsible Parties' (PRPs') implementation of the required remedies with the support from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA).

Threats and Contaminants

In 1976, IEPA confirmed the presence of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and heavy metals in the soil, surface water, and groundwater.  In addition to drums of wastes that were buried and at the surface, soil at the BSY was found to be contaminated with heavy metals immediately on and adjacent to the roadways at the BSY.  Several disposal areas on the DFP were contaminated with metals, including zinc, chromium, copper, and lead.  One area, the West Disposal Area, had elevated levels of VOCs, primarily toluene, ethylbenzene, xylenes, tetrachloroethene (PCE), and trichloroethylene (TCE).

Specific contaminants in groundwater included vinyl chloride, TCE, and cyanide. The contaminated groundwater plume affected approximately 200 homes in the area.



Cleanup Progress

In 1975, cleanup activities at the DFP were initiated by Commonwealth Edison (ComEd), and included drum removal, removal of contaminated soils in the North Disposal Area, and treatment of cyanide-contaminated soils in the remaining three disposal areas with sodium hypochlorite.

In 1984, U.S. EPA constructed a fence to prohibit site access and supplied bottled water to affected residents.  In April 1985, through an emergency removal action, the EPA provided carbon adsorption units to those individuals receiving bottled water.  The carbon units treated the entire household water supply.  In 1987, IEPA completed the disposal of an estimated 11,000 drums and excavated, disposed and/or treated roughly 3,000 cubic yards of highly contaminated soils.  In 1987, IEPA extended the municipal water supply system from the City of Byron to the Rock River Terrace subdivision.  In the summer of 1989, additional residents in the Rock River Terrace subdivision were connected to the municipal water supply system.

On September 30, 1998, U.S. EPA completed the first Five-Year Review Report evaluating the remedies selected to date.  This report concluded that at the time of the review the remedies selected were protective of human health and the environment.  A Record of Decision (ROD), Operable Unit #4 (OU#4), addressing contaminated soil, was signed in September 1998.  The OU#4 ROD, addressing contaminated groundwater, was signed on December 23, 1999.  The soil remedy required the excavation, treatment, and offsite disposal of VOC-contaminated soil.  While the ROD required that metal-contaminated soils be capped in place, design sampling showed that this was not necessary, because the levels found were below the action levels.  The groundwater remedy require the construction and maintenance of a permanent water supply well on the same side of the Rock River as Rock River Terrace subdivision and the implementation of a ground water monitoring program to monitor the boundaries of the contaminant plume until drinking water standards are achieved.

In September 2003, the PRPs completed the installation of the municipal water supply well and water line and handed over the operation and maintenance to the City of Byron.  By January 2003 and pursuant to a Consent Decree, Commonwealth Edison (CommEd) completed excavation of the metals contamination on the DFP which exceeded the remediation objectives in the east disposal area and the VOC contamination in the west disposal area for off-site disposal.  By excavating the soils contaminated with metals above concentrations that would allow for unlimited use/unrestricted exposure contaminated soil in the east disposal area instead of covering them as required by the ROD, the need for institutional controls for this area was eliminated. 

On August 29, 2003, U.S. EPA completed the second Five-Year Review Report evaluating the all remedies (OU #1, OU #2, OU#3, and OU #4) for the site and concluded that the remedies selected remain protective of human health and the environment.  On September 16, 2003, U.S. EPA signed a Preliminary Closeout Report documenting that the construction of all remedies for the site was completed.  A Long term Groundwater Monitoring Program (GMP) plan implementing the annual ground water monitoring was approved October 6, 2003.

On July 29, 2008, EPA completed the third Five-Year Review Report evaluating the protectiveness of the remedies implemented at the site.  The report concluded that the remedies remain protective of human health and the environment. The contaminants present in the aquifer remain below the Alternate Concentration Limits specified in the OU # 3 ROD and groundwater monitoring will continue as long as contaminant concentrations are present above drinking water standards. 

On July 29, 2013, EPA completed the fourth Five-Year Review Report.  No issues were identified during this evaluation and the implemented remedies remain protective of human health and the environment.  The next Five-Year Review is due in July 2018.


Remedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA
david seely (seely.david@epa.gov)
(312) 886-7058

Community Involvement Coordinator, U.S. EPA
janet pope
(312) 353-0628




Site Profile Information

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


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