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Congressional District # 11


EPA ID# ILD980794333
Last Updated: February, 2012

Site Description

The LaSalle Electrical Utilities site is located in the city of LaSalle, in LaSalle County, Illinois.  From about 1943 until 1982, the 68,000 square foot industrial complex, located on approximately 10 acres of land, manufactured capacitors for use by industrial applications and electrical power transmission.  In 1982, the Electrical Utilities Company filed bankruptcy and is now nonexistent.  All investigative and remedial activities at the site have been fund-financed.  The plant site is surrounded by small retail/industrial businesses, agricultural land, and residential property.  Approximately 5,200 residents live within one mile of the site.

Site Responsibility

This site is being addressed through federal and state actions.  EPA funded the State of Illinois, through Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA), to conduct the Remedial Investigations/Feasibility Studies and subsequently to implement the respective remedial actions.  Currently the site is in the operation and maintenance phase for the ground water pump and treat system with IEPA as the lead agency. 

Threats and Contaminants

Polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contamination on the plant site was detected at levels up to 17,000 ppm in surface soil and at 300,000 ppm in a dense nonaqueous phase layer in the water table.  Additional groundwater contamination by chlorinated solvents [trichloroethlyene (TCE), tetrachloroethlyene (TCA), etc.] was also identified.  All building materials, sampled inside the manufacturing complex (concrete, wood, steel surfaces, wall coverings, insulating materials, etc.), were contaminated with PCBs and significant amount of asbestos-containing materials were identified within the buildings.  Surface soil contamination extended from plant site to over 100 residential properties and along more than 1.5 miles of road shoulder.  PCB contamination was also detected in household dust in private residences near the plant site, in city storm and sanitary sewers serving the area of the site, and in sediments in approximately 1,000 feet of a stream which receives local storm sewer discharge.  Groundwater contamination by PCBs was restricted to the plant site and property immediately south of the site.  The solvent-contaminated groundwater plume extends under the eastern two-thirds of the site property and approximately 500 feet offsite to the south and southeast. 

Cleanup Progress

In 1983-1985, U.S. EPA conducted three separate early actions.  The first was to secure the site.  Secondly, all drummed wastes were consolidated.  Finally, the site was graded to control offsite migration of surface water. I n 1988, under a cooperative agreement with U.S. EPA as a state lead/fund-financed activity, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) began Phase I activities with the removal of 23,258 cubic yards of PCB-contaminated soil from private yards, road shoulders, agricultural fields, and adjoining business properties.  Soils removed in Phase I, were processed through a thermal treatment unit that was operated in an uncontaminated portion of the former plant site.  PCBs were stripped from the soil and thermally destroyed. The residents of 26 homes were relocated for up to six weeks while soil was excavated from the yards.  The homes were industrially cleaned, including the furnace duct system.  Over 100 other homes had partial removal of yards and/or curb to sidewalk soils. 

IEPA began Phase II activities in summer 1990.  This work was completed in the winter of 1994.  The industrial complex was demolished; 160 tons of structural steel was decontaminated for recycling; 1,410 tons of nonthermally destructible material was shipped for offsite disposal, including PCB-contaminated asbestos-containing material at a Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) landfill; 67,000 yards of PCB-contaminated soil; 645 tons of building demolition debris; and 3,100 cubic yards of contaminated stream sediments were thermally destroyed in an onsite thermal destruction unit.  A groundwater collection and treatment system was also installed to remediate contaminated groundwater.

In spring 1995, Phase III, operation of the groundwater remedy began.  IEPA evaluated technologies that will reduce the operating time of the groundwater remedy.  One technology that was piloted during summer 1999 was SVE (soil vapor extraction).  The pilot indicated that a SVE system with pneumatic fracturing (fracturing of the clay through pressure) would accelerate the cleanup.  The installation of a full scale SVE system in located areas was completed in 2002.  In addition, phytoremediation was implemented in smaller, select locations to enhance removal of VOCs from clay soils. 

A five-year review report was completed for the site on September 28, 1999.  In general, the report concluded that the remedy remains protective of human health and the environment.  The report recommended the continued operation of the groundwater extraction and treatment system, the installation of a SVE system, and an additional lateral groundwater collection trench along the eastern portion of the site, in order to achieve compliance with groundwater cleanup goals in a timely fashion.  IEPA decided not to install another lateral collection trench.

Since the initial five-year review, one Explanation of Significant Difference (ESD) was issued to account for the addition of remedy enhancements (i.e., two soil vapor extraction systems and two phytoremediation plots), which were implemented to reduce the potential that volatile organic compound (VOC) groundwater concentrations will increase (i.e., rebound effect) once groundwater extraction is discontinued.

A second five-year review was completed in September, 2004.  The remedy was determined to be functioning as designed, and groundwater monitoring results showed significant reduction in the concentrations of trichloroethene and 1,1,1- trichloroethane.

A third five-year review was completed in September, 2009. The ground water extraction system had been shut down to observe the effects on the ground water conditions, although the two phytoremediation plots remained operational.  No significant increases in contaminant concentrations or changes in the ground water plume were observed.  The remedy was determined to be functioning as designed and continued compliance with local ordinances is needed to prevent exposure to contaminated ground water until the remedy is complete.

There currently are no immediate threats.  However, based on the groundwater modeling results, the continued monitoring efforts are necessary in order to ensure the level of protection to human health and the environment that was mandated in the March 1988 ROD for the site. 





Remedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA
david seely (seely.david@epa.gov)
(312) 886-7058

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.


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