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Background

Overview

The Lake Calumet Cluster site (LCCS) is a group of several land and waste storage/disposal facilities located in southeastern Chicago, Cook County, Illinois. The site is approximately 87 acres in size and is bordered by the Paxton I Landfill to the north, Land-and-Lakes #3 Landfill to the west, the Norfolk and Western Railroad right-of-way to the east, and 122nd Street to the south.  The LCC site consists of the following individual areas: Alburn Incinerator, Unnamed Parcel, U.S. Drum II, and the Paxton Avenue Lagoons.

Prior to 1949, the site consisted primarily of wetlands.  However, activities up to the 1970s, before enactment of the major environmental laws, the wetlands here were used for filling and dumping.   The United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) have conducted numerous investigations at the site which document soil, sediment, and groundwater contamination in the four areas. 

Alburn Incinerator

This 35 acre parcel, which has become known as the Alburn Incinerator, does not actually still contain an incinerator.  It is a piece of land that was used as landfill from 1967 to 1977.  The company that ran the landfill applied for an incinerator permit under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) in 1979.  RCRA is the federal law enacted to manage the generation, treatment, and disposal of hazardous waste. In 1982, the permit was revoked due to violations of its permit requirements.  The company operating this facility stored and incinerated hazardous waste and sludge, including paints, thinners, varnishes, chlorinated solvents, styrene, ink, adhesives, waste oils, antifreeze, petroleum, coal tar, and waste solvents. 

Unnamed Parcel

This 38 acre area consists of an unpermitted landfill.  It is believed that this area received various municipal, industrial, and chemical waste materials from the 1940s to the 1960s.

U.S. Drum II

This is a 2.5 acre area which was used from the 1940s to the 1970s as a dump for industrial and municipal waste.  In the mid-1970s, it was used as a hazardous waste and petroleum recovery facility until a fire in July 1975.  In 1979, a waste drum termporaty storage and transfer facility operated in this location. 

Paxton Area Lagoons

The lagoons were active in the 1940s, accepting a variety of chemical wastes from nearby steel mills.  Drums were also alleged to have been buried here. 

Numerous field investigations have been performed by US EPA and Illinois EPA.  Since 1998, a total of 123 surface soil samples and 19 subsurface soil samples have been collected and analyzed.  Additionally, 145 test pit excavations have been performed.  In addition, groundwater monitoring wells were installed and sampled for volatile organic compounds (VOCs), semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs), and metals.

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