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Wedron Site Updates

August 2015

Private Well Sampling – The Wedron private water well sampling event (29 wells total) is scheduled for August.  Illinois EPA will assist the LaSalle Co. Health Dept. in collecting the water samples and the Illinois EPA’s laboratory will analyze them.  The laboratory results should be available within a month.  The Illinois Department of Public Health will interpret the results and prepare a letter for each property owner and/or occupant household to explain their specific results.
  
New technical documents available – An October 2014 U.S. EPA memorandum titled “Evaluation of the Wedron Groundwater Site’s Identified BTEX Source Areas and Their Relationship to BTEX Groundwater Contamination in the Village of Wedron, Illinois,” an April 2015 Illinois EPA report titled “Data Evaluation Report,” and a July 2015 U.S. EPA memorandum titled “Report Review - Data Evaluation Report, Wedron, LaSalle County, Illinois, April 2015” are now available under the technical documents tab on this webpage. These documents identify likely source areas of the groundwater contamination in Wedron.

Two investigation reports are final
- In late winter 2015, two reports on investigations of possible sources of soil and groundwater contamination in Wedron were accepted as final by U.S. EPA and have also been added to the technical documents posted to the web page:
·         Wedron Site Investigation Technical Memorandum by BP (for the former BP Terminal Property on the NE edge of Wedron)
·         Wedron Silica Company - Final Report – Administrative Order on Consent(for their properties to the east and south of the residential area of Wedron)

Illinois Railway submitted an updated report to U.S. EPA in May 2015, and the Agency is working with Illinois Railway to finalize it. The report includes results from an additional investigation that U.S. EPA asked Illinois Railway to perform this winter at locations on its property where underground storage tanks were located. The additional investigation was needed to fully characterize soil and groundwater contamination found during the initial investigation on Illinois Railway property.
Also, Illinois Railway must submit a Site Investigation Completion Report to the Illinois EPA’s Leaking Underground Storage Tank (Leaking UST) Program for investigations of former UST areas on Illinois Railway property.

Wedron Silica Company
’s UST cleanup plan approved The Illinois EPA has approved Wedron Silica Company’s Leaking UST Corrective Action Plan to address contamination identified at a former UST area on its property.  Implementation of the plan will begin during the Summer of 2015.  This contamination has been thoroughly defined and is not considered to be one of the potential source areas for the Wedron residential area groundwater contamination.

Next steps
- Illinois EPA is working to have a contractor perform a Fall 2015 pumping test of the lower aquifer in Wedron to better understand hydraulic properties of that aquifer.  The pumping test results will help identify whether the uncontaminated lower aquifer will support additional new private wells and whether it is isolated from the upper aquifer.  With that critical  information, the agencies will work to identify remediation technologies and cleanup options.

Air monitoring – U.S. EPA has received air monitoring data for the months of February, March, and April 2015 under a U.S. EPA-approved air monitoring program for particulate matter.  The program provides data on dust leaving Wedron Silica Company and Technisand operations in Wedron.  The companies will continue to submit data to U.S. EPA each month under the approved air monitoring program until February 2016.  Data collection is being overseen by U.S. EPA.  The data files for the months of February, March, and April 2015, listed below, are now available under the technical documents tab on this webpage.  

  1. Appendix A. PM 4 Crystalline Silica Data Summary February 2015
  2. Appendix A. PM 4 Crystalline Silica Data Summary March 2015
  3. Appendix A. PM 4 Crystalline Silica Data Summary April 2015
  4. Appendix F. TEOM Data February 2015
  5. Appendix F. TEOM Data March 2015
  6. Appendix F. TEOM Data April 2015
  7. Appendix B. PM4 Particulate Matter and Crystalline Silica Filter Data February 2015
  8. Appendix B. PM4 Particulate Matter and Crystalline Silica Filter Data March 2015
  9. Appendix B. PM4 Particulate Matter and Crystalline Silica Filter Data April 2015

July 2015

Private Well Sampling – The Wedron private water well sampling event (29 wells total) is scheduled for August.  Illinois EPA will assist the LaSalle Co. Health Dept. in collecting the water samples and the Illinois EPA’s laboratory will analyze them.  The laboratory results should be available within a month.  The Illinois Department of Public Health will interpret the results and prepare a letter for each property owner and/or occupant household to explain their specific results.

Illinois Railway submitted an updated report to U.S. EPA in May 2015, and the Agency is working with Illinois Railway to finalize it. The report includes results from an additional investigation that U.S. EPA asked Illinois Railway to perform this winter at locations on its property where underground storage tanks were located. The additional investigation was needed to fully characterize soil and groundwater contamination found during the initial investigation on Illinois Railway property.

Also, Illinois Railway must submit a Site Investigation Completion Report to the Illinois EPA’s Leaking Underground Storage Tank (Leaking UST) Program for investigations of former UST areas on Illinois Railway property.

Wedron Silica Company’s UST cleanup plan approved The Illinois EPA has approved Wedron Silica Company’s Leaking UST Corrective Action Plan to address contamination identified at a former UST area on its property.  Implementation of the plan will begin during the Summer of 2015.  This contamination has been thoroughly defined and is not considered to be one of the potential source areas for the Wedron residential area groundwater contamination.

Next steps - Illinois EPA is working to have a contractor perform a Fall 2015 pumping test of the lower aquifer in Wedron to better understand hydraulic properties of that aquifer.  The pumping test results will help identify whether the uncontaminated lower aquifer will support additional new private wells and whether it is isolated from the upper aquifer.  With that critical  information, the agencies will work to identify remediation technologies and cleanup options.

Air monitoring – U.S. EPA has received air monitoring data for the months of February, March, and April 2015 under a U.S. EPA-approved air monitoring program for particulate matter.  The program provides data on dust leaving Wedron Silica Company and Technisand operations in Wedron.  The companies will continue to submit data to U.S. EPA each month under the approved air monitoring program until February 2016.  Data collection is being overseen by U.S. EPA.

April 2015

Two reports are final - In 2014, three reports on investigations of possible sources of soil and groundwater contamination in Wedron were submitted to EPA:

llinois Railway will submit an updated report to U.S. EPA. It will include results from additional investigation that EPA asked Illinois Railway to perform this winter at locations on its property where underground storage tanks were located. The additional investigation was needed to fully characterize soil and groundwater contamination found during the initial investigation on Illinois Railway property. EPA expects to work with Illinois Railway to finalize the report within the next few months.

Wedron Silica Company also performed additional investigation on its property during the winter to further characterize contamination identified at a former UST area. Illinois EPA is reviewing the investigation results and will oversee any potential clean-up of the former UST area under its leaking underground storage tank program.

Next steps - U.S. EPA and Illinois EPA will consolidate all the investigation results to identify potential sources of contamination in Wedron. Then the agencies will work to identify remediation technologies and cleanup options.

Well sampling - U.S. EPA, LaSalle County Health Department and Illinois EPA have agreed on a sampling plan to sample private wells in Wedron until at least 2016. The LaSalle County Health Department will collect the next round of samples later this spring; Illinois EPA will analyze the samples.

Illinois EPA is also working this year to have a contractor perform a pumping test of the lower aquifer in Wedron to better understand hydraulic properties of the lower aquifer to help identify whether the lower aquifer will support potential additional new wells.

Air monitoring - In February 2015, Wedron Silica Company and Technisand began a U.S. EPA-approved air monitoring program for particulate matter to provide data on dust leaving the companies’ operations. The air monitoring for particulate matter will continue in Wedron for one year with U.S. EPA oversight.

November 2014

U.S. EPA and Illinois EPA have provided comments on reports for investigations of possible sources of soil and groundwater contamination in Wedron. Three reports were submitted to EPA:  one from Illinois Railway, one from BP, and one from Lockheed Martin, Technisand, and Wedron Silica Company.  EPA expects to work with these companies to finalize the reports in the next few months.

U.S. EPA and Illinois EPA are working together and coordinating their oversight of investigations of benzene and other volatile organic chemical contamination at the Wedron Groundwater site. Wedron Silica Company will perform additional investigation on its property in November 2014 to further characterize contamination identified at a former underground storage tank (UST) area.  U.S. EPA has also asked Illinois Railway to perform additional investigation at locations on its property where USTs were located.  These investigations are needed to fully characterize soil and groundwater contamination found during the initial investigations.  After the additional investigations are completed, the agencies will work to identify potential long-term remediation solutions.

U.S. EPA also approved a work plan from Wedron Silica Company and Technisand to conduct air monitoring in Wedron for one year.  The monitoring will provide data on dust leaving the companies’ operations.

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 July 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. 

 

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.

April 2014

EPA collected additional water samples from the recently installed eight residential replacement wells in early April 2014. Previous sampling showed that the water is good quality. EPA expects to have the results from this second round of sampling in May 2014.

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.

The AOCs are available on this webpage under Technical Documents.

Harsh winter weather caused some delays with the investigations. Most of the soil investigation work is complete, and results from the soil investigations and the Hoxsey property investigation show there are multiple potential sources of the benzene contamination in Wedron.

EPA is overseeing remaining investigation work that will confirm the locations of the sources of contamination. Final reports for the investigations are expected in summer 2014.

Wedron Silica Company and Technisand are planning to perform air monitoring in Wedron for one year starting summer 2014. The air monitors will collect information on blowing sand in Wedron, and EPA will oversee the work.

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.

September 2013

U.S. EPA plans to begin work this month to install individual replacement wells for eight private drinking water wells currently contaminated with benzene. The federal Agency is awaiting approvals from the LaSalle County Health Department before beginning the work.

The Agency also plans to install five additional monitoring wells in Wedron to further define the extent of the groundwater contamination plume and help determine sources of contamination. Based on the results of the soil gas sampling that we completed this summer, we will conduct limited vapor intrusion monitoring in 3-4 homes in coordination with ATSDR this fall.

U.S. EPA has reached agreements in principle with BP, Illinois Railway, Lockheed Martin, Technisand, and Wedron Silica Company to perform investigations in Wedron that will help the Agency identify potential sources of the contamination to the soil and groundwater. We anticipate finalizing the Administrative Orders on Consent and Work Plans in September 2013 so the investigations can begin in October 2013. The Agency is using its authority under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) for these investigations. In addition, as part of an information request from the EPA under the Clean Air Act, Wedron Silica Company and Technisand are working with EPA to install air monitors in Wedron to study the impact of blowing sand in Wedron.

Illinois EPA is installing three monitoring wells on the Hoxsey property in September to further investigate the Hoxsey property as a potential source of the groundwater contamination. IEPA is coordinating this effort with U.S. EPA and is using state funds to pay for the investigation.

The EPA has completed a community involvement plan (CIP)(PDF)(37pp, 283K), to enhance communication between local residents and EPA as the investigation and cleanup at the site progress. EPA invites everyone to provide comments about the plan to Heriberto Leon, Community Involvement Coordinator.

April 2013

Last year, EPA sampled all but two of the 45 homes in Wedron. EPA is trying to get access to the remaining two properties. Nine homes tested positive for volatile organic compounds, including benzene, and these residents were offered bottled water.  In addition, EPA’s contractor installed filtration systems in these homes in February 2013.

Since last October, EPA has hosted community meetings every two months, and the most recent meeting was on April 3.  Health officials from the CDC’s Agency of Toxic Substances and Disease Registry have joined us at meetings and are a resource for residents with health concerns. The next EPA event will be an open house scheduled for early June, and it will be advertised on our website.

This spring and summer EPA will continue efforts to investigate the sources of contamination and explore options for a long-term solution. These efforts include:

July and August 2012

In July 2012, EPA and Illinois EPA collected soil samples from 18 locations in Wedron using a special drilling rig called a geoprobe that can collect samples beneath soil surface. The results of the soil sampling also showed elevated levels of the VOCs benzene, chloroform, ethylbenzene, and xylenes. This investigation also identified several potential sources of the groundwater and soil contamination.

Also in July 2012, EPA, Illinois EPA and the Illinois Fire Marshal’s office oversaw the excavation and removal of an underground tank that was uncovered during a rail expansion along the Illinois Railway tracks bordering N. 2153 Road (LaSalle County 11). Illinois Railway hired a contractor to remove the liquid in the tank, clean the tank and remove the affected soil.

EPA oversaw an investigation conducted by Hoxsey property owners in August 2012 at the former Hoxsey gas station to determine if underground tanks or piping are still present. The investigation identified piping from the tanks on the property, but did not find tanks still underground. An additional investigation was set to be conducted by Illinois EPA at this property.


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