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Congressional District # 11


EPA ID# IL7213820460
Last Updated: May, 2015

Site Description

The Joliet Army Ammunition Plant (JOAAP) Manufacturing (MFG) Area located in Will County, Illinois, covers 14 square miles of an inactive Army munitions facility. The site, which is adjacent to the Load-Assembly-Package (LAP) Area [another National Priorities List (NPL) site], is 10 miles south of Joliet, Illinois. Together the two sites constitute the JOAAP NPL Facility.  From the early 1940s through 1977 more than 4 billion pounds of explosives, primarily trinitrotoluene (TNT) and tetryl, were made in the MFG Area. The production facilities were located in the northern half of the MFG Area. The southern half of the MFG Area was occupied by extensive explosives storage facilities.

The MFG Area included:

Approximately 1,200 people live within three miles of the site. The nearest residence is less than one mile away, and there are water supply wells in use within a one-mile radius of the site. The surrounding area is primarily used 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

The area contained 139,500 cubic yards of soil, contaminated with explosives, primarily TNT, tetryl, and dinitrotoluene (DNT). There were also 13,500 cubic yards of soil, contaminated with metals, primarily lead, and 15,700 cubic yards of soil, contaminated with explosives and metals. There are two landfills, covering approximately 90 acres; two large ash piles, covering approximately 15 acres; and a number of onsite groundwater plumes, contaminated with explosives, volatile organic compounds, and/or metals.

Cleanup Progress

During 1996, the Army, using Superfund removal authorities, removed more than 1,200 electrical switch boxes that were filled with oil and were potential sources of contamination. They also placed a membrane cover over an eight-acre ash pile in order to control leaching from the pile. 

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 soils and final actions for contaminated groundwater.  Final actions for the MFG Area included: excavation and onsite bioremediation for explosives-contaminated soil; excavation and onsite or offsite treatment for other contaminated soil; excavation and offsite disposal of the two ash piles; capping the two landfills; 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 September 2004.  Final site cleanup has been completed, as documented in the site Preliminary Close Out Report, which was completed in September 2008.  

Composting was chosen to bioremediate explosives-contaminated soil.  The bioremediation facility was built in fall 1999. The 20-acre bioremediation facility consisted of three 25,200-square foot treatment buildings, each housing two concurrent windrows or elongated piles; an 80,000 cubic yard stockpile area; and a one-million gallon stormwater basin. 

Excavation of explosives-contaminated soil began in July 1999.  Ultimately, a total of 205,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil were successfully bioremediated, with the project completed in 2007.

In December 2005 excavation of one of the ash landfills began.  By March 2006 the landfill was completed excavated and over 55,000 cubic yards of material were excavated and sent to the Will County landfill for disposal.  In May 2006 excavation began at the remaining ash landfill.  Removal of the landfill materials was completed in the spring of 2007.

The first basewide Five-Year Reviw 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 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 Explosives of Concern (MEC) investigation at Landfills 2 and 3, focusin on the extended buffer area around the two landfills, has been approved and field work began 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 Prairie, Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery, 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 Joliet Army Ammunition Plant for over 10 years, represents the community's interests in the environmental cleanup to the Army and other government agencies. 

Congressional Interest

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

Property Reuse

Future land use at the Joliet Army Ammunition Plan is prescribed in the Illinois Land Conservation Act of 1995.  The MFG Area is in the process of being transformed into a portion of a Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, a national veterans cemetery, 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.  Additionally, 982 acres of the former JOAAP were transferred to the Department of Veterans Affairs and developed as the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetary. The cemetary, which will provide 400,000 burial spaces, was dedicated in 1999.  In April 2002, the Army transferred 455 acres to Will County for the establishment of a municipal landfill, which opened in January 2004.




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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