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Congressional District # 10


EPA ID# ILD005443544
Last Updated: September, 2011

Site Description

The Johns-Manville site is an approximately 150-acre asbestos disposal area located in Waukegan, Lake County, Illinois.   Approximately 3 million cubic yards of off-specification products and wastewater sludge, containing asbestos, and to a lesser degree, lead, chromium, and thorium, were disposed in the eastern area of the 300-acre Johns-Manville property. The disposal area is approximately 25 to 30 feet above grade. The site is located in an industrial area, and the nearest residential area is about one half mile northwest of the site. The population of Waukegan is 67,500. The site is bordered by Lake Michigan and the Illinois Beach State Park, both of which are used for recreation. Studies conducted at the site indicated that airborne asbestos presented the greatest potential risk. Johns-Manville ceased operations onsite in summer 1998.  All former manufacturing buildings were demolished in 2000-2001.

Site Responsibility

This site is being addressed through potentially responsible party (PRP) actions.

Threats and Contaminants

Air sampled in the vicinity of the site contained asbestos fibers. Groundwater contained asbestos, arsenic, and several volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Waste materials and sludge were contaminated with asbestos, heavy metals, and VOCs. The most significant threat to public health prior to cleanup was the inhalation of asbestos fibers. The site was dusty during dry periods and posed health concerns to the surrounding communities and to the onsite workers. No one ingested the contaminated groundwater; however, past levels of asbestos in onsite groundwater monitoring wells exceeded the maximum contaminant level under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Cleanup Progress

A Record of Decision (ROD) was signed in 1987. In 1988, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA), Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA), and Manville Corporation entered into a consent decree (CD) to conduct the remedial design and remedial action (RD/RA) at the site. The cleanup activities that were implemented included placement of a 24-inch soil cover with vegetation over all dry waste areas; paving of two parking lot areas contaminated with asbestos; resurfacing site roadways with a 24-inch cover; and providing rip rap along all operating wastewater treatment ponds. Construction activities began in November 1988 and after two enforcement actions, including collection of a $38,000 stipulated penalty (for late submission of documents) and a $165,000 civil penalty (for improper grading activities), the RA proceeded smoothly until its completion in August 1991. Additional work was included in the RA when further contamination was discovered during site clearing activities. Ultimately, approximately 3 million cubic yards of asbestos-containing waste that was spread over approximately 150 acres was provided with a cover that virtually eliminated the potential for releases of asbestos to the air. The total cost of the RA was approximately $20,000,000, including the additional work. Currently, operation and maintenance (O&M) activities, such as soil cover maintenance and groundwater monitoring, continue at the site. Contingency plans are in place in case the soil cover fails or the groundwater or surface water become contaminated with levels that exceed applicable standards.

After Johns-Manville ceased operations on-site in summer 1998, U.S. EPA issued an explanation of significant differences in September 2000 which required the closure of the former wastewater treatment ponds and the miscellaneous disposal pit (which received non-asbestos-containing wastes).  Closure of these ponds is proceeding in accordance with the First Amended Consent Decree which was entered in court in December 2004.  Investigation of the former manufacturing area is being addressed through IEPA's Voluntary Clean-up Program. Construction on the first of three phases of pond and disposal pit closure began in 2005 and is ongoing.  The former settling basin has been dewatered and covered.  Since 1998, seven additional areas, all of which contained asbestos-containing material (ACM) were discovered outside of the Johns-Manville fence line. These areas have been characterized by Johns-Manville. In 2002, the largest of the sites was cleaned up under an EPA-funded removal action. A design for the clean up of other sites (the "Southwestern Site Area") is expected in spring 2012.

The first five-year review for the site was completed on January 21, 1999, and a second five-year review was completed on May 2, 2003.  A third five-year review was completed on May 1, 2008, which found that the remedy was expected to be protective of human health and the environment once all remedial actions have been completed.

Per EPA's letter of June 9, 2010, the Phase II Remedial Work Plan (30% design) for the industrial canal, pumping lagoon, and collection basin was submitted to EPA for review in December 2010.  EPA disapproved the work plan in March 2011 and met with Johns-Manville in May 2011 requiring them to revise the design to include, among other things, filling and proper capping of the industrial canal, pumping lagoon, and collection basin.  The revised work plan is expected by December 2011. 

Success Story

The cleanup of the Johns-Manville Site proceeded very quickly from its listing on the National Priorities List to the completion of the soil cover over the landfill area of the Site in 1991.

Community Involvement

The level of community interest has varied over time.  Issues with asbestos-containing materials (ACM) have arisen at the Illinois Beach State Park, which is located to the north of the Site.  This ACM is being addressed separately by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. 

U.S. EPA plans to seek public comment on a cleanup plan for the "Southwestern Site Area" in December 2011.

Congressional Interest

Congressional interest in the Site has been minimal to date.  There has been some congressional interest in the presence of ACM at the Illinois Beach State Park.  This ACM is being addressed separately by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.


Remedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA
matthew ohl (ohl.matthew@epa.gov)
(312) 886-4442

Community Involvement Coordinator, U.S. EPA
mike joyce
(312) 353-5546




Site Profile Information

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


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