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Congressional District # 03


EPA ID# ILN000510190
Last Updated: March, 2015

Site Description

The Hough Place Station former MGP ("Hough Place") site is located at 2500 S. Corbett St. in Chicago, Illinois.  The approximately 4.5 acre site is bounded on the north by the South Branch of the Chicago River, on the south by railroad property, and on the east by a paper storage and distribution facility.  The former manufactured gas plant (MGP) site and the adjacent property to the west are currently vacant, but were formerly occupied by a sailboat storage, sales, and repair facility (Crowley’s Yacht Yard).  The land immediately adjacent to the former MGP site was created by filling in two former waterways (the Evans Slip to the west and the Hough Slip to the east).  One wood frame commercial building occupies a portion of the site and the remaining area is covered by concrete and gravel.  Land use in the area surrounding the site is primarily commercial and industrial.

The Hough Place Station facility was built in about 1885 by the Equitable Gas Light and Fuel Company.  In about 1892, the facility began producing “Pintsch gas,” a relatively high quality gas produced by an oil gas process, for the Pintsch Compressing Company.  Production of Pintsch gas appears to have continued into the early 1920s.  The Peoples Gas Light and Coke Company (Peoples Gas) acquired the facility in 1897 after the passage of the Gas Consolidation Act of 1897.  MGP structures formerly present at the site include the following:  a 50,000 cubic foot gas holder; a 5,000 cubic foot gas holder; a high-pressure gas holder; scrubbers; an oil house; tar boiling, generator, compressor, and purifier rooms; retorts; a pipe shop; two tar wells; an oil tower; three underground oil tanks; a storage building; a meter house; a testing laboratory; and a machine shop. 

The station was dismantled in 1934.  At that time, all aboveground gas plant structures were removed.  Portions of the property were subsequently leased to other companies and the property was used for various purposes (storage of building materials, manufacture of asphalt, concrete, or other paving materials) through at least 1950.  Chicago Title and Trust Company, as trustee, took title to the property in approximately 1953.  For some period of time between 1953 and 1978, the J.M. Corbett Company operated an asphalt mixing plant on the property.  In 1978, the property was sold to Grant Crowley of Crowley’s Yacht Yard.

The Hough Place site is being addressed under EPA's Superfund Alternative site program.

Site Responsibility

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

Threats and Contaminants

Polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), a group of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) called benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene (BTEX), and metals were detected in groundwater samples collected at the site in 2000.

Staining and odors have been observed in test pits and soil borings in various locations across the site.  Tar was observed at a depth of two feet below ground surface in a test pit located in the northwest corner of the site.  BTEX, PAHs, metals and cyanide were detected in several surface and subsurface soil samples at the site.

Sediment samples were collected from a location in the South Branch of the Chicago River, approximately 5,000 feet downstream of the site in 2000.  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 PAHs, PCBs, and metals are at levels that are indicative of toxicity to organisms that live in the sediment (benthic invertebrates). 

Cleanup Progress


EPA was approached by Wisconsin Public Service Corp. (WPSC) in 2005 with a proposal to investigate and clean up seven former MGP sites in Wisconsin under EPA’s Superfund Alternative site (SA) program. The SA 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.  WPSC later merged with Peoples Energy to form Integrys Energy Group and Integrys then approached EPA in 2007 to also address thirteen former MGPs in Illinois under the SA program.  The Hough Place Station is one of the thirteen Illinois former MGP sites.

In 2007, EPA and Integrys entered into an Administrative Order on Consent (AOC) for Remedial Investigations and Feasibility Studies at two Waukegan former MGP sites and an AOC for Engineering Evaluations and Cost Analyses (EE/CAs) at eleven Chicago-area MGP sites.  Since all twenty MGP sites have similar conditions and contaminants, and Integrys is a PRP 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, EPA had approved all of the multi-site documents 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 eleven Chicago former MGP sites to an RI/FS AOC.

To more effectively manage the eleven Chicago MGP sites, the RI/FS AOC organizes them into four larger sites called 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. The North Branch Site is comprised of the Division Street Station Operable Unit (OU), the North Station OU, and the Willow Street/Hawthorned 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.


The completion report and RI work plan for Hough was approved by EPA in October 2013.  The RI field work was planned to begin in 2014 and continue into 2015.  Currently, the PRP is securing site access from various property owners located within the site boundaries.

Previous Investigations and Cleanups

Several investigations at the Hough Place site have been conducted by Integrys in recent years.  A site investigation performed in 2000 included completion of test pits and soil borings and installation of shallow monitoring wells.  Impacts were observed at various locations on the site at depths below the water level.  Soil samples were collected in June 2001 by as part of a supplemental site investigation.  Several areas where tar was present at depths below the water table were identified.  In September and October 2006, a geotechnical investigation was conducted in order to design excavations necessary to remediate the site.  Soil borings advanced beyond the eastern site boundary (in the location of the former Hough Slip) indicated that tar was present at depths below the water level in the filled-in slip.  

Integrys began cleanup activity in November 2006 under the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency's (Illinois EPA) Site Remediation Program.  The AOC signed by Integrys (Peoples Gas) in early June 2007 began EPA's oversight activities at the site.  In 2008, a time-critical removal was completed by Intergrys under EPA oversight.  The cleanup objectives for the site were: 1) Remove all source material; 2) For the 0 to 3.5 foot depth interval, remove all soil that exceeds Illinois EPA TACO Tier 1 residential standards for soil ingestion and install a 3-foot engineered barrier; 3) For the 0 to 10 foot depth interval, remove all soil that exceeds Illinois EPA TACO Tier 1 residential standards for soil inhalation and where necessary, install a 10-foot engineered barrier to prevent exposure via inhalation; 4) Invoke a construction worker notice and the city of Chicago Ordinance prohibiting installation of potable wells on the site to eliminate the construction worker and groundwater exposure pathways.

When completed, the removal effort involved excavation of impacted material to depths of up to 29 feet below ground surface and off-site disposal of the excavated materials. The estimated total soil and debris disposal for the entire removal action at the site was 259,700 tons.

A limited investigation of the river area adjacent to the site was conducted in November 2006.  Several borings were advanced into river sediments.  Impacts in the form of sheens, odor, tar globules, tar-coated or stained material, and traces of tar were observed in some of the borings.

RI field work was started in May 2014, with 3 rounds of groundwater sampling completed as of February 2015.  Integrys is planning to submit a draft RI summary report to EPA, which is a prelude to submittal of a draft RI report, by mid-2015. 


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



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