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Congressional District # 11


EPA ID# IL0210090049
Last Updated: May, 2015

Site Description

The Joliet Army Ammunition Plant (JOAAP) Load-Assembly-Package (LAP) Area, located in Will County, Illinois, covers 22 square miles of an inactive Army munitions facility.  The site, which is adjacent to the Manufacturing (MFG) Area [another National Priorities List (NPL) site], is 10 miles south of Joliet, Illinois.  Together, the two sites constitute the JOAAP NPL Facililty.  From the early 1940s through 1977, high explosive artillery shells, bombs, mines, and small arms ammunition were loaded, assembled, and packaged on the site. Other activities included testing of ammunition, washout and renovation of shells, and burning and demolition of explosives. 

Approximately 1,200 people live within three miles of the site. The surrounding area is used primarily for agriculture, and a substantial amount of farming and grazing is carried out on uncontaminated portions of the installation.

Site Responsibility

This site is being addressed through federal actions. The U.S. Army has the lead responsibility at the site.

Threats and Contaminants

Threats that have been addressed by remedial actions at the JOAAP Facility include:

Four separate onsite groundwater plumes, contaminated with explosives, have also been identified.

Cleanup Progress

During 1996, the Army, using Superfund removal authorities, removed two PCB-contaminated oil pits from the burning pad area.  More than 18,000 tons of contaminated soils were removed and approximately 40,000 pieces of UXO, about half of which contained explosives, were also removed.  During 1997, removal actions were taken to decontaminate the portion of the site to become the Will County landfill area.  In the process, 710 cubic yards of PCB-contaminated soil and 3,750 cubic yards of hydrocarbon contaminated soil were removed. 

A Record of Decision (ROD) was signed for the entire Joliet Army Ammunition Plant in November 1998.  The ROD presented both final and interim response actions for contaminated soil and final response actions for contaminated groundwater.  Final actions for the LAP area included excavation and onsite bioremediation of explosives-contaminated soil, excavation and offsite treatment and/or disposal of one of the landfills and other contaminated soil, capping the other landfill, and natural attenuation with deed restrictions for the groundwater plumes.

Final remedial alternatives for the interim component of the soil remedy were developed and presented in a proposed plan.  A final ROD was signed in the fall of 2004.  Final site cleanup has been completed, as documented in the site Preliminary Close Out Report (September 2008). 

Remedial activities conducted in fall 1999 resulted in the excavation and offsite disposal of 3,950 cubic yards of soil, contaminated with PCBs.  A bioremediation treatment (composting) facility was built in fall 1999 to treat explosives-contaminated soil [See the Joliet Army Ammunition Plant (Manufacturing Area) NPL fact sheet for more details].  Between July 2005 and September 2007, approximately 43,000 cubic yards of explosives-contaminated soil was excavated, delivered to the composting facility and treated.  Excavation of contaminated soil in the LAP Area continued in 2007 and was completed in 2008.   In late 2005, a small landfill was excavated (18,400 cubic yards) from the LAP Area and send to the Will County Landfill for disposal.

The first basewide Five-Year Review was completed in May 2004 and the second in September 2009.  Per the 2009 Five-Year Review, the remedies that have been implemented at the JOAAP Site are considered protective of human health and the environment in the short term.  They will be considered protective in the long term once all of the necessary institutional controls have been implemented and/or documented.  In September 2014, he statutory due date for the Third Five-Year Review, EPA deferred the protectiveness determination for the JOAAP Site because of the Army's delay in providing EPA with the necessary information to make that determination.  The five year determination of remedy protectiveness will be made by the spring of 2015.

In September 2011, U.S. EPA determined that the JOAAP Site(s) are Sitewide Ready for Anticipated Use (SWRAU).

The U.S. Army has developed and implemented a long-term groundwater monitoring program for JOAAP.  A followup Munitions and Explosvies of Concern (MEC) investigation is underway at Landfills 2 and 3.  The investigation is focused on the extended buffer area around the two landfills.  Plans were approved by EPA and field work begia in November 2011.  Field work for the EBA was completed in 2014 and the final remedial investigation report documenting the results was submitted in May 2015.

Finally, the U.S. Army has contracted for the development of a Deed Restrictions Work Plan, the purpose of which will be to effectively monitor land use controls in the form of deed restrictions on an annual basis.  The first Deed Restriction Implementation Annual Summary Report, completed in November 2013, documented that the necessary deed restrictions are in place and operating properly.

A five-year review of the remedies at the JOAAP Site was due to be completed in September 2014.  Due to contractual difficulties, a five year review report was not submitted by the Army by the due date.  EPA determined that, although the remedies at JOAAP likely remain protective of human health and the environment based upon the available data, a complete protectiveness determination can not be made until the Army submits the final five-year review report, currently scheduled for July 2015.  

Success Story

The former Joliet Army Ammunition Plant - one of the largest and most productive ordnance complexes ever built, has a new identity as the Midewin Tallgrass Prairire, Abraham Lincoln National Cemetary, Prairie View Landfill, and several state-of-the-art manufacturing and distribution business parks.  After extensive environmental investigation and cleanup, and close collaboration between federal, state, and local governments, community groups, and the private section, the cleanup of JOAAP was completed in early 2008 - three years ahead of schedule.

Community Involvement

The Restoration Advisory Board, involved at the arsensal for over 10 years, represents the community's interest in the environmental cleanup to the Army and the other government agencies.

Congressional Interest

Both former Congressman Sangmeister and Congressman Weller worked with stakeholders on developing and implementing a balanced plan for the reuse of the Joliet Army Ammunition Plant.

Property Reuse

Future land use at the Joliet Army Ammunition Plant is prescribed in the Illinois Land Conservation Act of 1995.  The LAP Area is or will become a portion of the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, a municipal landfill for Will County, and an industrial park.

The first transfer of JOAAP land was completed in 1997 when 15,089 acres of land that did not require cleanup were transferred to the auspices of the U.S. Department of Agriculture/Forest Service for the creation of what will eventually be the 19,000 acre Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie.  In September 2005, an additional 2,600 acres were transferred for incorporation into the prairie. 

In August 2000, the Army transferred 1,300 acres to the State of Illinois for development of an industrial park. The propery was subsequently transferred to CenterPoint Properties to build the $2 to $3 billion Deer Run Industrial Park, with an intermodal rail facility and 17 million square feet for light industry.  Construction of the industrial park, estimated to take 10 to 12 years, began immediately.  CenterPoint estimates the project could generate approximately 20,000 construction jobs and 8,000 permanent jobs upon completion.  The intermodal rail yard opened in October 2002.  An additional 218 acres were transferred for the industrial park in 2001 after being cleaned up by the Army.  An additional 13 acres were transferred for the industrial park in August 2003.   In April 2002, the Army transferred 455 acres to Will County for the establishment of a municipal landfill, which opened in January 2004.  Additionally, 982 acres of the former JOAAP were transferred to the Department of Veterans Affairs and developed as the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery. The cemetery, which will provide 400,000 burial spaces, was dedicated in 1999.


Remedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA
thomas barounis (barounis.thomas@epa.gov)
(312) 353-5577

Community Involvement Coordinator, U.S. EPA
janet pope
(312) 353-0628




Site Profile Information

This profile provides you with information on EPA's cleanup progress at this Superfund site.


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