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Congressional District # 12


EPA ID# ILD000605790
Last Updated: November, 2011

Site Description

The Sauget Area 2 site covers approximately 312 acres and is located within the corporate boundary of Sauget, Cahokia, and East St. Louis, Illinois, adjacent to the Mississippi River.  The Sauget Area 2 site is the location of a release of hazardous substances, resulting from the treatment and disposal of industrial, municipal, and chemical wastes.  A levee, bisecting the property, was constructed in the 1950s to prevent surface water from flooding areas east of the levee.

The Sauget Area 2 site comprises four landfills (Sites Q, R, S, and P) and four backfilled lagoons (Site O) located throughout the Sauget Area 2 property.  Landfill R (Site R), located directly adjacent to the Mississippi River, was used to dispose of chemical waste products from 1957 to 1977.  From 1966 to 1973, a larger landfill (Site Q) was also used to dispose of municipal and hazardous wastes.  In addition, beginning in 1972, industrial wastes were disposed at a landfill known as Landfill P (Site P).  Landfill S (Site S) was used as a still-bottom disposal area  after 1973.  The four sludge dewatering lagoons (Site O) were used to treat wastewater from area industries from the early 1950s to the late 1980s.


Site Responsibility

This site is being addressed through federal, state, and potentially responsible party (PRP) actions.   

Threats and Contaminants

Sampling conducted at the site has indicated levels of hazardous substances in all sources, including benzene at concentrations up to 10,000 ug/kg, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)) at concentrations up to 25,000,000 ug/kg, 4,4'-Dichlorodiphenyethlene (DDE) at 270 ug/kg, phenol at 2,300,000 ug/kg, and lead at 728 ug/kg.  In addition, chlorobenzenes, chlorophenols, chloroanilines, nitroanilines, and metals were found on the property, in groundwater beneath the property, and in Mississippi River sediments adjacent to the Sauget 2 property.  Prior to an early action to control groundwater migration, these hazardous substances posed a threat to ecological resources of the Mississippi River.  Land-based contaminants may continue to pose a threat to industrial and construction workers at the site and to land-based ecological resources.  The Sauget Area 2 property is used as habitat by a number of important species, including the bald eagle, snowy egret, and little blue heron.  A portion of the Mississippi River within the area of observed contamination is fished for carp, catfish, and drum for human consumption.

Cleanup Progress

In 1993, a flood exposed numerous drum containers on the east bank of the Mississippi River (Site Q), resulting in flood water coming in direct contact with hazardous substances, including PCBs at concentrations up to 110,000 ug/kg.  These drums contained waste with arsenic concentrations of 138 mg/kg and lead concentrations at 3,740 mg/kg.  The United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) conducted a CERCLA removal action at the northern portion of Site Q in 1995 to stabilize the area scoured by flood waters.

In 1999, lead was documented in groundwater beneath the property at 238 ug/L.  PCB levels were documented as high as 19 ug/L, and 4,4'-DDE levels as high as 0.52 ug/L.  In response, U.S. EPA initiated a CERCLA time-critical removal during which over 3,271 drums of waste and hazardous materials and approximately 17,032 tons of contaminated soil were removed from the western edge of the property, directly adjacent to the Mississippi River.  However, due to the extensive amount of contamination, the removal action could not address all the contamination on Sauget Area 2 Site Q property.  Sediment samples collected in 2000 from the Mississippi River adjacent to the site show elevated levels of chlorobenzene (up to 10,000 ug/kg), 4-chloroaniline (3,300 ug/kg), 1,4-Dichlorobenzene (1, 700 ug/kg), and 4,4'-DDD (14 ug/kg).

In 2000, an administrative order on consent (AOC) for the Sauget Area 2 site was entered into by U.S. EPA and a group of PRPs.  The AOC requires the Sauget Area 2 sites group to conduct a remedial investigation (RI) and to prepare a feasibility study (FS).   An RI is a study into the nature and extent of contamination at the site.  An FS is a study of the cleanup alternatives at the site.  RI sampling activities were initiated in 2002 and concluded in June 2003.  The RI/FS report was submitted in January 2004.  Due to data gaps identified in the RI/FS report, further sampling was conducted at Sauget Area 2 as part of a Supplemental Investigation (SI).  Sampling activities have concluded for the SI and the draft Remedial Investigation Report has been approved by EPA, although it is not considered final until release for public review along with a proposed plan for site cleanup.

In November 2001, U.S. EPA sent a request to the Sauget Area 2 sites' group to prepare a focused feasibility study (FFS) for the Groundwater Operable Unit (OU-2) to address the known groundwater contamination problem in the vicinity of Site R.

In September 2002, U.S. EPA a selected interim remedy for OU-2 and issued a unilateral order to a PRP to implement the selected remedy.  The rationale for the remedy selection was documented in a Record of Decision (ROD). The interim ROD and order called for the installation of a 3,500-foot long, 140-foot deep U-shaped jet grout wall barrier between the down gradient boundary of Site R and the Mississippi River; installation of groundwater extraction recovery wells inside the barrier wall; installation of a groundwater treatment system; implementation of a groundwater, surface water, and sediment monitoring program to ensure acceptable performance of the interim groundwater remedy; and institutional controls.  In July 2003, U.S. EPA issued an explanation of significant difference (ESD) to the interim ROD.  This ESD involves a change of one single component of the remedy (the use of a conventional soil-bentonite wall barrier instead of a jet grout wall barrier) and does not fundamentally alter the cleanup approach.  Construction of this interim remedial action (RA) was started in early 2003 and was completed in early 2006.  The groundwater containment system icontinues in operation at Site R and was the subject of a Five Year Review in 2009.

Additional studies and investigations have been conducted on Area 2 by the PRPs, including vapor intrusion and groundwater modeling work.  The results of these and other studies/investigation on Area 2 are being incorporated in an updated Feasibility Study to assess cleanup alternatives for the site, which will be completed in 2012. Following this, a proposed final remedy decision for the site will be released for public comment. 


Remedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA
stephanie linebaugh (linebaugh.stephanie@epa.gov)
(312) 353-2315





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