North Alcoa Site, Operable Unit 1
Community Involvement Coordinator
Dave Novak (firstname.lastname@example.org)
312-886-7478 or 800-621-8431, ext. 67478
Remedial Project Manager
Dion Novak (email@example.com)
312-886-4737 or 800-621-8431, ext. 64737
(where to view written records)
U.S. EPA Region 5
Superfund Records Center
77 W. Jackson Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60604
Open 8:15 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., weekdays
City Clerk's Office
City of East St. Louis
301 River Park Drive
East St. Louis, IL 62201
East St. Louis Public Library
5300 State St.
East St. Louis, IL 62201
The North Alcoa site consists of 400 acres located in a mixed use area of East St. Louis. The property is bounded on the north by Lake Drive, on the east by the Alton and Southern railroad, on the south by Missouri Avenue and on the west by 29th Street. The Mississippi River is three miles to the west of the site. Frank Holten State Park containing several large lakes is east of the site. Fortunately, neither the Mississippi River nor the state park is connected to the site by any surface or underground waterways that could move pollutants.
The city of East St. Louis now owns the North Alcoa site. The city and Alcoa are legally responsible for cleaning up the pollution under EPA oversight.
Manufacturing was occurring on or around the site more than 100 years ago. Operations at the North Alcoa site occurred mostly on the south side of Missouri Avenue where alumina and aluminum fluoride were produced from bauxite ore. The bauxite refining process used hot sodium hydroxide in a pressurized digester to separate material from the insoluble bauxite residue known as "red mud." During World War II, red mud was mixed in rotary kilns with limestone and soda ash. The residue from this process is "brown mud." Both forms of bauxite residue were disposed of north of Missouri Avenue in the area tnow known as the North Alcoa site.
At the beginning of the 20th century bauxite residue was disposed of in a place called Pittsburg Lake. Later it was stored in residue disposal areas or RDAs. The RDAs were contained within gypsum berms. Gypsum was a byproduct of Alcoa's manufacturing operations. Bauxite residue and gypsum are the primary waste products remaining at the site.
There are three large RDAs on the site known as the Old Pond, Brown Pond and Red Pond, each about 40 acres in size. Currently, a thin layer of vegetation and water covers the ponds. The dike in RDA 1 Old Pond was breached sometime in the past and drained to the south. Low-lying areas outside of the RDAs consist of wet spots, while higher ground contains fill material on the surface.
The bauxite residue is soft and not suitable as a foundation for building construction or redevelopment without extensive engineering. Existing sewers in the neighborhood are not capable of accepting any surface water discharges from the property. As a result, all stormwater needs to be managed on-site as part of the cleanup actions. The existing residue ponds would be reconfigured and used as part of the cleanup for stormwater management if EPA's preferred option is approved.
You will need the free Adobe Reader to view some of the files on this page. See EPA's PDF page to learn more.
US EPA staff met one-on-one with the public on June 7 to answer questions and take written comments. The extended comment period ended Wednesday, June 13, 2012.
US EPA and Illinois EPA propose to cover a polluted area with two feet of soil as a way to prevent exposure to lead and other metals, including radium. The cleanup area would be regraded to create a slope and will be covered with the soil layer to prevent pollutants from direct contact with humans. Stormwater within the area will be managed in basins designed to contain a 100-year stormwater event. Existing ponds on the site would be used as part of the cleanup design under this proposal.
The section to be cleaned up is known as the North Alcoa Operable Unit 1 or OU1. EPA often divides complex cleanup sites into smaller units called OUs. A much more detailed official document called a proposed plan outlines several proposed cleanup options and EPA's peferred cleanup plan for this section of the Alcoa site.
EPA will not select a final cleanup plan until after it reviews comments received from Illinois EPA and the public at a hearing and public comment period. The Agency is issuing the proposed cleanup plan as part of its public participation responsibilities under federal law. EPA may modify the proposed cleanup plan or select another option based on new information or public comments so your opinion is important.
- EPA Proposes to Cover Contaminated Area (PDF) (8pg, 1.20MB) April 2012
- Record of Decision - Operable Unit 1 (PDF) (70pp, 427MB)
- Proposed cleanup plan (PDF) (23pp 1.6MB) April 2012
- Pre-Design Investigation Report (PDF) (266pp 10.3MB) April 19, 2012
- Focused Feasibility Study Revision No. 2 (PDF) (245pp 59MB) April 12, 2012 - To view this file please visit the repository or contact Community Involvement Coordinator Dave Novak
- Administrative Record Index (PDF) (14pp 672K) April 11, 2012
- Radiological Survey Report (PDF) (1394pp 27MB) January 6, 2012
- Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study Work Plan (PDF) (485pp 51MB) July 24, 2003
- CERCLA Development Assessment (PDF) (210pp 62MB) February 18, 1997
- Administrative Order of Consent (PDF) (76pp 3MB) December 3, 2002
- EPA accepted comments on the proposed cleanup through June 13, 2012.
- EPA held an availability session June 7, 2012 in East St. Louis, IL - North Alcoa June 7 Meeting Letter (PDF) (1pg, 23K)
- EPA Extends Public Comment Period; Schedules June 7 Availability Session (PDF) (1pg 22K)
- Transcript from April 17, 2012 public meeting (PDF) (115pp 243K) April 2012