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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

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Attend a public meeting and open house
Wednesday, August 6
Public Meeting 5 - 6 p.m.
Open House 6 - 7 p.m.
Dayton Township Hall
3312 E. 18th Road
Ottawa

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

May 2014

Water samples taken in March 2014 from the eight Wedron replacement wells that EPA installed this winter confirms that the water is safe to drink.  At the same time, EPA also tested other wells at homes that are adjacent to the groundwater plume. One of these wells showed a detection of benzene at a level close to the standards that are set by the EPA for drinking water quality. The detection in this well is not in excess of the EPA standards. This well was sampled over one year ago and did not show contamination at that time.

EPA has communicated with the owner and the tenants to make sure that they use bottled water and do not drink from the well. EPA is working to install carbon filter units similar to the ones installed in eight Wedron wells in 2012 and 2013 before those wells were replaced because of benzene contamination. Granular activated carbon has proven effective for removing benzene from water to below the standards set by EPA.

EPA is trying to identify sources of the groundwater contamination. To that end, EPA continues to oversee groundwater and soil investigations by BP, Illinois Railway, Lockheed Martin, Technisand, and Wedron Silica Company as agreed through Administrative Orders on Consent (AOCs) with the companies. Final reports for the investigations are expected in summer 2014.

After the groundwater and soil investigations are complete, EPA will work to identify long-term solutions to provide alternative water to Wedron residents who may become affected by the groundwater contamination.  The additional well with contamination will be included in that evaluation.

EPA, LaSalle County Health Department and Illinois EPA have agreed on a long-term sampling plan to sample private wells in Wedron for a period of two years in order to take immediate response action to protect the public health if benzene is detected near or in excess of EPA standards.

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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