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Congressional District # 05


EPA ID# ILD982074767
Last Updated: March, 2015

Site Description

The Peoples Gas 22nd Street Station former MGP ("22nd Street Station") site is located at 2200 S. Racine Avenue in Chicago, Illinois.  The 7.2-acre site is bounded to the west by commercial property, to the north by Cermak Road followed by mixed residential and commercial properties, to the east by an electrical substation owned by Commonwealth Edison, and to the south by the South Branch of the Chicago River.  Throop’s Canal and Allen’s Canal previously bordered the site to the west and the southeast, respectively; both canals have been filled in.  The site is no longer owned by the Peoples Gas Light and Coke Company (Peoples Gas) and is comprised of four parcels that are currently owned and/or operated by Commonwealth Edison, GRM, Supercartage, and Midwest Generation LLC.

Manufactured gas plants (MGPs) were industrial facilities that produced gas from coal, oil, and other feedstocks.  MGPs started operating in the U.S. in the early 1800s, typically in urban areas where gas was needed for lighting, cooking, and heating.  The processes used to produce the gas also produced waste and by-products such as tars, purifier waste, oils, sludges, and acidic waste.

The 22nd Street Station site was initially developed by Peoples Gas in 1862 to produce coal gas.  The above-ground structures associated with the manufactured gas plant included four gas holders with capacities of 4.2 million cubic feet, 450,000 cubic feet, 290,000 cubic feet, and 200,000 cubic feet.  Beginning in 1922, the MGP was used as a peaking unit to produce gas only when customer demand was high.  The MGP was modified to produce carbureted water gas and oil gas in 1934.  Some of the MGP facilities were retired in 1938, and in 1944 two production sets were modified to produce reformed natural gas.  Peoples Gas began leasing portions of the site to Commonwealth Edison in 1931 and sold the last portion of the site to Commonwealth Edison in 1959.  The MGP stopped operating in 1958 and the entire plant was dismantled by 1960.

The 22nd Street Station site is being addressed under EPA's Superfund Alternative (SA) site program.

Site Responsibility

The 22nd Street Station site is being addressed through potentially responsible party (PRP) actions under federal and state oversight.

Threats and Contaminants

Heavy metals (arsenic, chromium, lead, silver, and selenium), polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and a group of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) called benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene (BTEX), were detected at concentrations exceeding state standards in soil samples collected at the site.  Free product coal tar staining and odors were also observed in the soil at various locations and sheens were observed in soil borings installed in the fill material in the former Throop's Canal property adjacent to the site.  Human contact with these compounds could cause long-term health effects.

In 2000, sediment samples were collected from a location in the South Branch of the Chicago River about 2,000 feet downstream of the site.  These samples contained high levels of PAHs, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), oil and grease, and metals; the concentrations of these substances generally increased with depth.  Many of the reported concentrations of total and individual PAHs, PCBs, and metals are at levels that may cause toxicity to organisms that live in the sediment (benthic invertebrates). 

Cleanup Progress

In 2005, EPA was approached by Wisconsin Public Service Corp. (WPSC) with a request to investigate and clean up seven former MGP sites in Wisconsin under the EPA's Superfund Alternative site (SA) program.  (The SA program addresses potential cleanup sites that might otherwise be eligible for listing on the National Priorities List (NPL), but which will instead be investigated and cleaned up by a cooperative PRP without formally listing the site on the NPL.)  WPSC later merged with Illinois-based Peoples Energy (Peoples Gas) to form Integrys Energy Group in 2007, and Integrys then approached EPA with a request to address thirteen former MGP sites in Illinois under the SA program.  Two former MGP sites are located in Waukegan and eleven are in Chicago.  The 22nd Street Station site is one of the thirteen Illinois MGP sites.

In 2007 EPA and Integrys entered into an Administrative Order on Consent (AOC) to conduct a Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study RI/FS) at the two Waukegan MGP sites and an AOC for Engineering Evaluations and Cost Analyses (EE/CAs) at the eleven Chicago MGP sites.  Since all twenty MGP sites have similar conditions and contaminants, and Integrys the PRP for each, the AOCs 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, EPA had approved all of the multi-site planning documents and site-specific work  began on several of the sites.  On October 31, 2008, EPA and Integrys entered into an AOC which converted the EE/CA AOC for the eleven Chicago former MGP sites to an RI/FS AOC.

To more effectively manage all eleven Chicago MGP sites, the RI/FS AOC organized them into four larger sites: the North Shore Avenue Site, the North Branch Site, the South Branch Site, and the Crawford Site.  Both the North Branch Site and the South Branch Site have several operable units (OU).  The North Branch Site is comprised of the Division Street Station OU, the North Station OU, and the Willow Street/Hawthorne Avenue Station OU.  One site is the the North Shore Avenue Station site.  The South Branch Site is comprised of the 22nd Street Station Upland OU, the Hough Place Station Upland OU, the Pitney Court Station Upland OU, the South Station Upland OU, the Throop Station Upland OU, and the South Branch River OU.

Investigations and Remediation Previously Performed

A preliminary assessment of the 22nd Street Station site was conducted by Illinois EPA in 1988, which then recommended that further investigation be done.  Additional investigations occurred under state oversight in 2000 and 2002, culminating in the clean up of portions of the site in 2006.  Peoples Gas (later Integrys) began remedial activities consisting of the excavation and off-site disposal of contaminated soils in April 2006 under the state's Site Remediation Program.

Contaminated soil was excavated to depths ranging from 3 feet to 30 feet below ground surface (bgs).  During the work, Integrys conducted daily air monitoring tasks, continuous 24-hour perimeter air monitoring and sampling, and confirmational soil sampling, plus water treatment with discharge to Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) sanitary sewer.

Impacted material in portions of the former Throop’s Canal have been excavated and removed to a depth of approximately 30 feet bgs.  Remediation of the site by excavation and off-site disposal of impacted materials is continuing.

Future Work

In March 2015, EPA began reviewing the revised RI work plan that Integrys submitted for approval.  Field work is planned to begin in summer 2015. 

Community Involvement

In March 2013, EPA participated in a public meeting held in the local school to discuss, among other things, the status of the cleanup at the 22nd Street Station site.  The meeting was attended by local officials, media, and local residents.


Remedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA
Rosauro Del Rosario (delrosario.rosauro@epa.gov)
(312) 886-6195



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