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Wedron Groundwater Contamination Site

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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
Mara McGinnis
(Mara.McGinnis@Illinois.gov)
Office of Community Relations
1021 N. Grand Ave. East
P.O Box 19276
Springfield, IL 62794
217-524-3288

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

ATSDR Representative
Claudine Samanic
(samanic.claudine@epa.gov)
312-353-4766

Director of Environmental Health
LaSalle County Health
Department
Ted Pumo, LEHP
(tpumo@lasallecounty.org)
815-433-3366, ext. 223

On this page:

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 town. These samples were tested for the presence of a family of chemicals called volatile organic compounds (VOCs), semi-volatile organic compounds and metals.

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Site Update

August 2014

EPA is reviewing reports and data submitted by BP, Illinois Railway, Lockheed Martin, Technisand, and Wedron Silica Company on their investigations of possible sources of soil and groundwater contamination in Wedron.

BP conducted an investigation of the former Amoco bulk plant area in Wedron. The investigation consisted of sampling sub-surface soil at agreed upon locations. EPA collected split soil samples from some of the locations sampled by the BP contractors. Results from the investigation are showing little to no contamination in the area sampled.

Illinois Railway (IR) conducted an investigation on a long stretch of IR's right of way property.  EPA collected split soil samples from some of the locations sampled by the IR contractors. Soil and groundwater results show multiple exceedances of Illinois TACO standards for benzene and other volatile organic chemicals (VOCs). (TACO is the Illinois EPA's method for developing remediation objectives for contaminated soil and groundwater. www.epa.state.il.us/land/taco/fact-sheet.html) Further review and investigation is needed to fully characterize the area and determine the extent of the contamination.

BP and Illinois Railway also conducted geophysical investigations on IR’s right of way to identify whether any additional underground storage tanks (USTs) remain on IR property where the soil and groundwater investigations occurred.  Three USTs have been removed from this area since August of 2012.  The geophysical investigations did not identify any additional USTs.

Soil sample results from an investigation conducted by Lockheed Martin, Technisand, and Wedron Silica Company on Wedron Silica Company and Technisand properties show some to no contamination in some areas, and multiple exceedances of Illinois TACO standards for benzene and other VOCs in an area where USTs were once located. Wedron Silica Company will install groundwater monitoring wells to determine whether the groundwater under the area with soil exceedances has been impacted.  EPA collected split soil samples from some of the areas sampled by the companies’ contractors. Further investigation is needed to fully characterize the area with soil exceedances on Wedron Silica Company property and determine the extent of contamination. 

In December of 2013, the Illinois EPA determined that the Hoxsey property in Wedron should be considered a potential source of contamination.  Additional investigation is needed to fully characterize the extent of contamination at the Hoxsey property.

EPA and Illinois EPA are working together and coordinating their oversight of the investigations of the three likely source areas at the Wedron Groundwater site.

After the additional investigations to fully characterize the three likely source areas of contamination are complete, EPA and Illinois EPA will work to identify long-term remediation solutions to address Wedron's groundwater contamination.

Wedron Silica Company and Technisand are planning to conduct air monitoring in Wedron for one year under a soon to be approved workplan.  The companies will be ordering monitoring equipment as soon as possible after EPA approves the workplan. 

Past Site Updates

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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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