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Congressional District # 12


EPA ID# ILD006282479
Last Updated: March, 2015

Site Description

The 20-acre Jennison-Wright Corporation (Jennison-Wright) Superfund site is located within the corporate boundaries of Granite City, Madison County, Illinois.  The site is in a low income, mixed industrial/residential neighborhood.  The population within one mile of the site is 31,280.  

Various industrial operations began at the Jennison-Wright site prior to 1920 and continued until 1989.  In about 1920, the site was occupied by a tie treatment facility that used creosote, pentachlorophenol, and zinc naphthenate to preserve railroad ties and wood block flooring.  Most of this activity occurred on the southern portion of the site.  The southern area also had railcars and a variety of tanks that contained wastes, several waste pits, and stockpiles of contaminated soil.  Jennite, an asphalt sealant, was also manufactured on the site.  The "Jennite pit" (a lagoon) was an on-site disposal pit into which Jennite and creosote wastes were dumped.  Other features in the southern part of the site included the "22nd Street Lagoon," the "Jennite Building" (which had 2 silos), a tank farm (including a buried railcar), and other buildings. The northern portion of the site was mainly used as a drying and storage area for treated railroad ties and wood blocks.

Jennison-Wright Corporation filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in November 1989.  An auction was held in 1990 to sell the remaining equipment and materials.  The site has remained vacant since 1990.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) placed the Jennison-Wright site on the National Priorities List (NPL) in June 1996.

Site Responsibility

The Jennison-Wright site is being addressed through state and federal actions.  The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (Illinois EPA) is the lead agency for the site cleanup actions and EPA is the support agency.

Threats and Contaminants

Surface soil at the Jennison-Wright site was contaminated with dioxins and dibenzofurans and with carcinogenic (cancer-causing) polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).  Subsurface soil is contaminated with benzene and naphthalene.  The groundwater is contaminated with PAHs and pentachlorophenol (PCP) in numerous locations around the site including the northeast corner of the site ("Area H") and the Jennite pit.  The Jennite pit contained creosote wastes and was the source of surface and subsurface soil contamination as well as groundwater contamination.  After industrial operations ceased, wastes were left at the site in a railroad tank car, a buried railroad tank car, two aboveground storage tanks, and two lagoons (22nd Street Lagoon and Jennite Pit). 

Direct contact with or ingestion of contaminated soil and other wastes at the site could cause carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic human health risks.  However, the site is fenced to prevent trespass and most waste and soil contamination has been addressed.  No known human exposures to site contaminants are occurring.

Cleanup Progress

Soon after Jennison-Wright Corporation's 1989 bankruptcy declaration, Illinois EPA moved to undertake three removal (early cleanup) actions at the site. The first, in 1992, was taken to stabilize site contaminants.  A second was taken in 1994 to remove the most critical contaminants and the third was taken in 2003 to demolish on-site structures and remove additional surface contamination.  The 1992 action was funded by proceeds from the 1990 bankruptcy sale and, since no other financially viable potentially responsible parties (PRPs) have been identified, both the 1994 and 2003 removal actions were federally-funded.

Illinois EPA began a federally-funded engineering evaluation/cost analysis (EE/CA) at the Jennison-Wright site in April 1997. The purpose of the EE/CA was to quantify the environmental impacts of remaining site contaminants and to determine the most effective cleanup approach(es). Illinois EPA approved the final EE/CA report in July 1999 and then issued a proposed plan to clean up the site. Illinois EPA scheduled a public hearing to solicit comments on the proposed cleanup plan.

After considering and responding to comments from the public, a Record of Decision (ROD), a public document that explains the site cleanup plan, was signed in September 1999 by EPA and Illinois EPA. The cleanup plan described in the ROD included: (1) off-site disposal of various site wastes at a hazardous waste disposal facility; (2) an on-site biological treatment land farm to treat contaminated soil; (3) steam injection/concentrated contaminant recovery to address groundwater concerns; and (4) injection of a substrate (Hydrogen Release Compound (HRC)) into the subsurface to address the less-contaminated groundwater.

The remedial design for the site cleanup was completed on July 21, 2003. Initial funding for the cleanup was received in 2004. This funding was used to remove hazardous and special wastes on the north side of the site and to treat groundwater in this area. Cleanup of the northern portion of the site was completed in 2005.

In December 2005, in lieu of using on-site biological land farming to address soil contamination, EPA decided to change this component of the remedy and ship contaminated soils to an off-site landfill instead. The change was documented in an Explanation of Significant Differences (ESD) that was signed in 2005. 

A second Explanation of Significant Differences (ESD) was signed in June 2009 to document several other minor changes to the remedy, including the need for institutional controls (ICs) to restrict future use of site soils and groundwater, excavation of contaminated soil from beneath 22nd Street, and a contingency plan for addressing potential additional contamination below the Jennite Pit.

After the cleanup of the northern portion of the site was completed in 2005, the cleanup of the southern portion of the site was initiated.  Construction of the site-wide remedy was completed in 2009.  Cleanup activities undertaken since 2005 include removal of dioxin-contaminated soils; excavation of the Jennite Pit and the 22nd Street Lagoon; completion of the Area H cleanup; excavation and disposal of soils in the former PCP process area; additional injection of the HRC substrate to promote anaerobic biodegradation of groundwater contaminants; and construction of a treatment system. The treatment system includes use of hot water injection wells to remove non-aqueous phase liquids (NAPL) from groundwater.

The first five-year review (FYR) for the Jennison-Wright site was completed in June 15, 2009. The FYR report found that the remedy will be protective of human health and the environment once the construction is complete, the groundwater cleanup objectives are achieved, and the ICs are implemented. The report also stated that in the meantime, because there are no complete exposure pathways at the site, there are no unacceptable risks to human health and the environment.

The site later achieved construction completion status in September 2009. The groundwater/NAPL treatment system will continue running for a number of years; however, more recent operational data show that the groundwater/NAPL separator is inefficient and must be expanded.  Illinois EPA and EPA began planning to replace the current unit in 2014. The cumulative mass of contaminants removed by the system to date exceeds 1,419 lbs. Illinois EPA is conducting groundwater monitoring on a quarterly basis to determine the effectiveness of the remedy.

The interim Remedial Action Report became final in July 2013.  Also in 2013, EPA and Illinois EPA conducted a site inspection on November 15 in preparation for completing the second FYR at the site. The FYR, issued on June 15, 2014, found the remedy to be protective in the short term because there are no complete exposure pathways at the site and all remedial components are in place and operating. The review identified several issues and corrective measures that need to be implemented before the remedy can be considered protective in the long term. These actions include: 1) Replace the undersized non-aqueous phase liquid (NAPL) treatment component; 2) Regrade the storm water retention area to make the side slopes less steep; 3) Implement ICs to prevent the use of groundwater until the groundwater cleanup levels are met; 4) Prevent the disturbance of soil contaminants contained in place; 5) Maintain the integrity of the remedial and monitoring systems; 6) Prohibit the future residential use of the property; and, 7) Conduct a risk analysis to determine the impact of EPA’s 2012 change in the non-cancer toxicity factor for dioxin. The Illinois EPA is currently addressing these issues.

Property Reuse

There are no property reuse plans at this time. The Madison County Health Department and Granite City each have an ordinance in place prohibiting the use of groundwater as a potable water source and the installation of private wells. The property is also zoned against residential development. The Agencies are finalizing an Institutional Control (IC)Implementation Plan to determine appropriate ICs for the site. The ICs will provide long-term protection to both the public and the environment and will ensure the integrity and effectiveness of the operating remedy by limiting land use and development to appropriate activities.


Remedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA
mary tierney (tierney.mary@epa.gov)
(312) 886-4785

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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