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Congressional District # 15


EPA ID# ILD042671248
Last Updated: November, 2014

Site Description

Indian Refinery is located in Lawrence County, southeast of the City of Lawrenceville, Illinois. The former refinery includes the Main Processing Area (MPA), Indian Acres and Indian Acres North, six tank farms (A thru F), and the Land Treatment Unit (LTU). The site comprises 990 acres, and is bordered by cultivated farmland to the west and southwest, by alluvial lowlands to the southeast, by the Embarras River to the east and by residential areas to the north and northwest.

The site was operated by various owners as a refinery from the early 1900s until 1995. Immediately prior to 2011, American Western Refining, L.P. (AWR), and its subsidiary Indian Refining Company (IRC) owned the closed refinery. In September 2011, ownership was transferred to Texaco Downstream Properties, Inc.  Texaco is represented by Chevron Environmental Management Company (CEMC), which is performing the cleanup work.

Approximately 4,900 people are supplied with drinking water from municipal wells serving the city of Lawrenceville. Only a few people living in the Kirkwood Subdivision (located between the LTU and the MPA) and in scattered housing near the site use private wells for drinking water. No existing private wells are located within the current known extent of groundwater impact.

Site Cleanup History

U.S. EPA’s primary involvement at Indian Refinery was with oversight of two removal actions prior to the site being placed on the National Priorities List (NPL) in 2000. After the site was put on the NPL, the cleanup has continued under Illinois EPA oversight. A Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) and Restoration Project is also underway and is being overseen by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Progress on NRDA activities at Indian Refinery can be tracked at http://www.fws.gov/midwest/LawrencevilleNRDA/

The Indian Acres area contains approximately 225,000 cubic yards of soil and waste, about two-thirds of which is acidic tar sludge. In October 1996, U.S. EPA responded to Illinois EPA's concerns for an immediate removal action at the Hickory Street and Fourth Street properties, a residential area north of Indian Acres. U.S. EPA provided oversight as IRC completed a partial removal at both properties. U.S. EPA returned in October 1997 to complete the removal action at the Fourth Street property.

In June 1997, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service performed an unannounced inspection at Indian Refinery. During this inspection, the FWS discovered an ongoing oil release and an associated contaminated area on the southern part of the refinery property just east of Tank Farm B. IEPA and U.S. EPA conducted site assessment at the refinery that confirmed that subsurface oil product, floating on the groundwater, was releasing through several discharge points into wetlands beyond the refinery fence line. The wetlands, impacted by the oil release, are hydraulically connected to the Embarras River. Most of the vegetation in the wooded wetlands area, impacted by the oil release, had been killed. Samples revealed the presence of benzene, toluene, xylene, methylnaphthalene, naphthalene, 1,3,5-trimethylbenzene, and total petroleum hydrocarbons. Because American Western Refining did not have sufficient funds available to respond to the requirements as outlined by U.S. EPA, U.S. EPA mobilized and began cleanup and other removal activities at the site.

Removal cleanup activities, conducted by U.S. EPA in 1997, included a number of actions:
• construction of collection pits in the oil seep area to capture the oil discharge,
• pumping oil and water from collection pits to a refinery-owned and operated onsite oil water separator,
• removal of oil-soaked, contaminated soils, placing them in one of three onsite bio-cells, and
• installation of a 760-foot interceptor trench (18 feet deep into a river sand substrate) with a gravity fed collection sump.

The collected oil and water from the interceptor trench is pumped through a buried four-inch PVC pipe to the refinery-owned and operated collection system and onsite oil water separator and treatment facility, where the removal related effluent is treated and subsequently discharged into the Embarrass River pursuant to the site’s NPDES permit. The interceptor trench and wastewater treatment system continues in operation, and has successfully kept Tank Farm B contamination from moving offsite.

Indian Refinery was proposed for the NPL on July 28, 1998, and was placed on the NPL on December 1, 2000. Texaco and the State of Illinois entered into a consent decree dated December 13, 2000 and approved by the court October 1, 2001 for performing the RI/FS for the site.

Since September 2000, Illinois EPA has taken over lead oversight responsibilities for all activities ongoing at the site.

Site Responsibility

This site is being addressed through state and potentially responsible parties' action.

Threats and Contaminants

Prior to the RI, some sampling had been conducted at the site under a May 1992 agreement between the State of Illinois and the Indian Refining Company. Additional sampling had been conducted in limited areas to address specific releases.

In October 1996, U.S. EPA assessed the immediate threats posed by tarry soil discovered in a residential area north of Indian Acres. This contamination was address by soil removal actions in 1996 and 1997.

In June 1997, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service discovered an ongoing oil release and associated contaminated area on the southern part of the property near the refinery's Tank 572 area. An assessment of the release confirmed that a subsurface oil product, floating on groundwater, was releasing through several discharge points into wetlands beyond the refinery fence line. This hydrocarbon relase was addressed by a removal action performed by U.S. EPA in 1997, which included construction of a groundwater collection trench.

The former Indian Refinery contains large volumes of contaminants in groundwater and soil expected at a refinery such as benzene, naphthalene, ethylbenzene, toluene, semi-volatile organic compounds and lead.  However, since the site was put on the NPL, no significant releases of contamination have been observed migrating off- site, with two notable exceptions. In 1999, there was a significant accidental release of hydrocarbons to the Lawrenceville wastewater treatment plant during refinery demolition, and contaminants were exposed several years later when the city constructed a storm sewer through the Indian Acres area without obtaining prior approval from Illinois EPA. The storm sewer had to be removed and re-routed. The former Indian Refinery Site is  completely fenced and subject to 24-hour security.

The Remedial Investigation Report, Former Indian Refinery, Lawrenceville, Illinois written by SECOR, Entrix, Trihydro and Arcadis, dated September 2008, represents the culmination of five years of field activity conducted in accordance with the 2001 consent decree. A significant amount of data regarding the nature and extent of LNAPL, areas of waste deposition, and extent of groundwater and soil contamination were collected during the RI through the completion of soil borings, installation of groundwater monitoring wells, collection and analysis of soil, groundwater, surface water and sediment samples, and completion of bench scale treatability testing. The RI Report has been available for review in the information repository at the Lawrenceville Public Library.

Cleanup Progress

U.S. EPA was involved in two Superfund Removal actions at Indian Refinery, one in 1996 at Indian Acres and another in 1997 in Tank Farm B. Both activities are discussed in the Site History section, above.

Illinois EPA has been responsible for oversight of all remedial cleanup activity at the former Indian Refinery since September 2000. Illinois EPA provides detailed cleanup information to the public with a series of fact sheets at its website: http://www.epa.state.il.us/community-relations/fact-sheets/indian-refining/index.html

Community Involvement

The Information Repository for the site is located at:

Lawrence Public Library
814 Twelfth Street
Lawrenceville, Illinois 62439
(618) 943-3016

The Illinois EPA Community Relations Point of Contact is:

Carol Fuller (carol.fuller@illinois.gov)
Community Relations Coordinator
Illinois EPA
Office of Community Relations
(217) 524-8807


Remedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA
owen thompson (thompson.owen@epa.gov)
(312) 886-4843





Site Profile Information

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


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