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Congressional District # 16


EPA ID# ILD005252432
Last Updated: May, 2015

Site Description

The Parsons property covers approximately 6 acres. The site is bordered by residential communities to the east and southeast and by various industrial and commercial facilities to the south, west, and north. The Kishwaukee River is  0.25 miles south-southeast of the site.  The Parsons Casket Hardware Company manufactured decorative metal fittings for caskets at the site from the early 1900s until 1982, when the owner filed for bankruptcy.  The manufacturing operations required use of hazardous chemicals, and hazardous waste by-products were generated as a result of the manufacturing process.  Wastes from the operations were stored in drums, aboveground and underground storage tanks, and an unlined surface impoundment.  Wastes that were generated included: electroplating sludge; cyanide plating and cleaning solutions; bronze, nickel, and brass sludges; and associated solvents.

Approximately 6,000 people live within a one-mile radius of the site. The closest residence is located less than one-tenth of a mile away. A municipal water supply well is located about 1,500 feet from the site. Residents use the Kishwaukee River for fishing and recreational activities.

Site Responsibility

Operable Unit #1 (Site Soils) was completed by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) with funding from the U. S. EPA.  The IEPA prepared and U.S. EPA concurred with a Record of Decision (ROD) for Operable Unit #2 (Groundwater contamination) in 2005 and the U.S. EPA  enforced against other contributors to the groundwater contamination to secure their involvement in the groundwater cleanup.

As part of the enforcement action, a cash-out settlement consent decree (CD) in the amount of $ 3.6 million was signed between U. S. EPA and the three facilities (Johns Manville, Textron Inc., Camcar LLC., Central Rubber Corporation, and Woodhead Industries) in October 2010. 


Threats and Contaminants

Groundwater contains various volatile organic chemicals (VOCs).  On-site soils contained VOCs, cyanide, and heavy metals including: arsenic, copper, and nickel were cleaned up by the IEPA.  People who use the local municipal water supply system could be exposed to hazardous chemicals from the site.  However, the municipal water supply is routinely analyzed to ensure that people are exposed to dangerous levels of contaminants.

Cleanup Progress

The State of Illinois began the cleanup of the surface impoundment and the storage tanks on the site in 1985.  Waste materials, including lagoon liquids, sludges, and storage tank liquids, were removed, treated, and disposed of offsite.  Filter Systems, Inc. purchased the building in 1985 and properly disposed of the 120 drums inside the building.  Between 1987 and 1996, the IEPA conducted a remedial investigated/feasibility study (RI/FS).  The EPA split the soil and groundwater into separate cleanup projects.  The groundwater required additional investigation of a separate VOC plume adjacent to the site.

In 1996, U.S. EPA selected a remedy for the cleanup of surface contamination at the site. The major components of the selected remedy include: installation of a security fence around the site; deed/zoning restrictions to prohibit groundwater use; no residential construction permited; control of waste material generated from movement of soils at the site; excavation and removal of contaminated soils from the abandoned lagoon area, addressing suspected dry wells; and groundwater monitoring. The remedial action was completed in August 2000 for the soil operable unit.  Construction for the soil operable unit has also been completed.  A remedial action construction completion report for Operable Unit 1 was completed in May 2002.  

The U.S. Geological Survey (U.S.G.S.), in cooperation with U.S. EPA, is conducting an ongoing study of the Galena-Platteville bedrock aquifer beneath the city of Belvidere. Unfortunately, the ongoing study has revealed a much larger problem in the area around Parson's. The nature and extent of groundwater contamination, from Parson's and potentially from other unidentified off-site sources, are still being investigated.

IEPA completed a Feasibility Study (FS) for the groundwater in 2004 and a Record of Decision was signed in 2005.   The ROD calls for groundwater treatment by biodegradation of VOCs and it included a contingency for air stripping of the water coming from municipal wells if they should become impacted. 

EPA performed pre-design investigations in 2012/2013 and is currently conducting a RD investigation to determine the applicability and viability of the groundwater remedy selected in the 2005 groundwater ROD.  

Congressional Interest

Senators Durbin and Obama have made several inquiries as to the status of cleanup operations at the site and the potential for harm to the City of Belvidere's municipal wells.

Property Reuse

The City of Belvidere wishes to use the land under the former Parson's Site to extend the truck route from the bypass into the commercial area around the Parson's Site.  EPA is involved in discussions with the City and has prepared a "Reasonable Steps Letter" to advise the City about future re-use of the site and protect the integrity of the remedy. 


Remedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA
syed quadri (quadri.syed@epa.gov)
(312) 886-5736

Community Involvement Coordinator, U.S. EPA
teresa jones
(312) 886-0725




Site Profile Information

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


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