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Wedron Groundwater Contamination Site

Site Information
Contact Information

Community Involvement Coordinator
Heriberto León (leon.heriberto@epa.gov)
312-886-6163 or 800-621-8431, ext. 66163

On-Scene Coordinator
Steven Faryan (faryan.steven@epa.gov)
312-353-9351 or 800-621-8431, ext. 39351

Community Relations Coordinator Illinois EPA
Michelle Tebrugge
(Michelle.Tebrugge@Illinois.gov)
Office of Community Relations MC 5
1021 N. Grand Ave. East
P.O Box 19276
Springfield, IL
217-524-4825

Remedial Project Manager
Illinois EPA

John Richardson
(John.Richardson@Illinois.gov)
1021 N. Grand Ave. East
P.O Box 19276
Springfield, IL
217-782-0243

Photo Gallery
Click to see photos of the site
Public Meeting and Open House

EPA will hold a public meeting and open house Wednesday, April 23, 2014 to provide updated information on the investigation of the Wedron groundwater site and on the status of an alternate water supply for affected residents.

Public Meeting 5 - 6 p.m.
Open House 6 - 7 p.m.
Serena High School Cafeteria
2283 N. 3812th Road
Serena

Background

EPA and Illinois EPA have been working in Wedron, Ill., to determine which private drinking water wells have been affected by pollution. The agencies are also investigating potential sources of the groundwater contamination. “Groundwater” is an environmental term for underground supplies of fresh water.

In 2011, residents of Wedron reported gasoline odors from their water. As a result, the Illinois Department of Public Health collected groundwater samples in October 2011 and found two homes with benzene levels above the health standard. In November 2011, the LaSalle County Health Department told these residents to no longer drink or use their well water. Illinois EPA then contacted EPA, which began the current investigation.

Beginning in December 2011, EPA collected groundwater samples from 22 residential wells and one commercial well in the LaSalle County town. These samples were tested for the presence of a family of chemicals called volatile organic compounds or VOCs, semi-volatile organic compounds and metals.

Site Update

December 2013

EPA has completed the installation of eight private drinking water wells in Wedron to replace existing wells that had benzene contamination.  The wells were drilled into the lower New Richmond aquifer which provides potable water to many of the residents in LaSalle County.   The water from the new wells have been sampled and results show that it is good quality water. The Agency recommends that the residents with the newly installed wells upgrade their water softener in order to reduce traces of naturally occurring radium, which may appear in some of the water samples. The EPA will collect additional water samples from the new wells in March and April of 2014.

The EPA also concluded vapor intrusion sampling in three Wedron homes this fall.  A subslab and indoor air sample were collected at each property for volatile organic compounds (VOCs).  The results showed that vapors inside the homes and under the subslab are below EPA's screening values and do not pose a health risk.  No further vapor intrusion sampling is planned at this time.

The Agency is overseeing groundwater and soil investigations by BP, Illinois Railway, Technisand, and Wedron Silica Company as agreed through Administrative Orders on Consent (AOCs) with the companies. An additional underground storage tank has been discovered during the initial phase of these investigations.  This makes the third tank that will have been removed since the beginning of EPA's activities in Wedron. The results of the investigations by these parties, which are expected in the Spring of 2014, should provide information on the possible sources of the benzene contamination in Wedron. The AOCs are available on this webpage under Technical Documents.

The Agency will conduct another round of water sampling in March 2014 at a limited number of Wedron locations on and near where the benzene plume has been located. See map showing the approximate area of the groundwater contamination.  

Illinois EPA has concluded field work for an investigation on the Hoxsey property to explore its role as a potential source of the groundwater contamination in Wedron.  IEPA is in the process of analyzing information it obtained during the field work in order to develop a draft report summarizing the results of that work. IEPA is coordinating this effort with U.S. EPA and is using state funds to pay for the investigation.

The EPA continues to work with Wedron Silica Company and Technisand to install air monitors in Wedron to study air quality, particularly regarding particulates, during the spring and summer of 2014.

Past Site Updates

Site History

In April 1982, Illinois EPA began a groundwater investigation in Wedron after the Illinois Department of Public Health received complaints from several residents of gasoline-type odors in their private well water. Illinois EPA collected groundwater samples from several private wells in April 1982, June 1983 and August 1983 and confirmed the presence of chemicals found in gasoline. At that time, a new deeper well was drilled to provide clean drinking water to the affected homes. In addition, an investigation of several potential sources of contamination was completed, but no source was found.

Site Description

The site is the unincorporated community of Wedron located in LaSalle County, Ill.  The site is located in a mixed rural, residential, and industrial area. North of the site are residential homes, agriculture, and undeveloped land.  To the east are the Fox River, agriculture, and undeveloped land.  To the south are the Wedron Silica sand-mining facility and mining pits; and to the west are two Wedron Silica quarries, agriculture, and undeveloped land.  Current and former commercial and industrial properties known at the site include the Fairmount Minerals Ltd., Wedron Silica Mining Co., Illinois Railway railroad company, the former Hoxsey gas station, and the former W.D. Grain Co.


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