Jump to main content.


Congressional District # 17


EPA ID# ILD990817991
Last Updated: February, 2014

Site Description

The 105-acre Galesburg/Koppers Superfund site is located in a rural area approximately two miles south of Galesburg, Illinois.  The active-woodtreating facility treats "green" railroad ties with heat, pressure, creosote, and coal tar.  Past treatment operations have also included pentachlorophenol (PCP) and fuel oil in the mix.  The facility has been in operation since 1907 and past waste disposal practices led to contamination of the soil and groundwater in and around the site.  Environmental problems were first noted in spring 1965 when phenol was found in the plant's discharge water and lime sludge was observed in a ditch.

Site Responsibility

The Galesburg/Koppers site is being addressed through federal, state, and potentially responsible party (PRP) actions.

Threats and Contaminants

Contaminants of concern at the Galesburg/Koppers site include creosote, coal tar, PCP, and fuel oil.  These contaminants were found in a number of unlined lagoons, spray fields, waste pile storage areas, and ditches.  Human exposure to the contaminants could lead to adverse health impacts.

Cleanup Progress

Remedial investigation (RI) work was completed in August 1986 and the RI report identified contaminants of concern in soil and groundwater.  In June 1989, EPA signed a record of decision (ROD) to select biological treatment for contaminated soil and groundwater pump-and-treat as the site remedial actions.

A Remedial Design/Remedial Action (RD/RA) Consent Order was issued in August 1994 and stated that PRPs Burlington Northern Railroad Company; Beazer East, Inc.; and Koppers Industries, Inc. must initiate design and cleanup activities at the site in accordance with the 1989 ROD.

Since that time, the biological treatment technology has been demonstrated, and construction of the full scale Soil Storage Unit (SSU) and Land Treatment Unit (LTU) has been completed. Contaminated soil was excavated from all identified operable units and placed in the SSU. All soil targeted for the LTU has been successfully treated.  The SSU has been decommissioned and dismantled.  The LTU has been partially closed.

Pilot testing for an alternative groundwater treatment approach was conducted and EPA issued an explanation of significant differences (ESD) document in 2001 to change the groundwater pump-and-treat remedy to an in situ treatment approach. 

In Septmeber 2001, EPA completed a preliminary close-out report (PCOR) for the site and it is currently in the operation and maintenance stage.

EPA completed the first two five year reviews (FYR) at the site in September 2000 and September 2005, respectively, and in each report the remedy was found to be protective.  EPA completed the third FYR in September 2010 and found the remedy to be working as intended and that it was protective.

EPA plans to complete the fourth FYR at the Galesburg/Koppers site by August 2015.


Remedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA
nabil fayoumi (fayoumi.nabil@epa.gov)
(312) 886-6840

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.


Local Navigation

Jump to main content.