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U.S. Smelter & Lead Refinery Superfund Site

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Contact Information

Community Involvement Coordinator
Janet Pope (pope.janet@epa.gov)
312-353-0628 or 800-621-8431, ext.30628

Remedial Project Manager
Michael Berkoff (berkoff.michael@epa.gov)
312-353-8983 or 800-621-8431, ext. 38983


(where to view written records)

East Chicago Public Library
Reference Department
2401 E. Columbus Drive
East Chicago, IN 46312

East Chicago Public Library
1008 West Chicago Ave
East Chicago, IN


Technical Assistance Grant and Community Advisory Group are two ways the community can get involved. Learn more about CAGs and TAGs

U.S. Smelter and Lead Refinery, Inc. (USS Lead) facility is located on a 79-acre tract of land in East Chicago, Indiana.  The USS Lead Superfund site includes both a portion of the former USS Lead facility and nearby commercial, municipal, and residential properties. The primary contaminants of concern at the site are lead and arsenic.

 From 1906 to 1920, the Delamar Copper Refinery operated at the USS Lead facility as a copper smelter. In 1920, the property was purchased by U.S. Smelting Refining and Mining and the facility became a lead refinery. The property was later purchased by USS Lead. Between 1972 and 1973, the USS Lead facility was converted to a secondary lead smelter, recovering lead from automobile batteries. All operations USS lead ceased in 1985. While USS lead was a significant contributor to contamination in the area, EPA’s investigations indicate that other facilities in the area have also been significant sources of contamination to the residential area.

Site Updates | News Releases | Fact Sheets || Technical Documents Public Meetings

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Site Updates

May 2013

During 2013, EPA will be negotiating with entities that may be potentially liable for the cleanup. EPA expects the design phase of the cleanup work on the residential portion of the site to begin during 2014.

On November 30, 2012, EPA signed a Record of Decision, a document outlining the cleanup plan selected by EPA to address lead and arsenic soil contamination at the residential portion of the site. The plan was presented to the public at a meeting in July 2012 and then opened to public comment for 60 days.  The decision calls for EPA to dig up and remove contaminated soil at residences where concentrations of lead or arsenic pose a threat to residents. The contaminated soil will be taken to a licensed landfill for disposal. Once contaminated soil has been removed, yards will be filled with clean soil and restored to their original condition.  EPA estimates that approximately 700 residences may require cleanup.  

EPA removed contaminated soil at a total of 29 properties during removal actions in 2008 and 2011.  EPA identified these homes during sampling activities and found that they had especially high levels of lead or arsenic.  As a result, EPA decided that time critical removal actions were necessary.  The cleanup plan selected in 2012 will address the remaining contamination within the residential area.


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