Congressional District # 12
CHEMETCOEPA ID# ILD048843809
Last Updated: August, 2013
Chemetco Inc. was a former secondary copper smelter operation which operated from 1969 to 2001. The former smelter property occupied more than 230 acres of land, but operated on 41 acres at the smelter site. Chemetco’s major function was recycling or secondary processing of copper-bearing scrap and manufacturing residues. The facility produced primarily copper cathodes and anodes. This process produced waste byproducts such as slag, zinc oxide (scrubber sludge), and spent refractory brick. On October 31, 2001, the facility shut down and then filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on November 13, 2001. On December 7, 2001, the Illinois EPA issued an order to seal Chemetco. The site was finalized on the National Priorities List on March 4, 2010.
Chemetco is located approximately two miles south of the Village of Hartford, in Madison County, Illinois and approximately one mile east of the Mississippi River.
Chemetco Inc. filed for bankruptcy in 2001, and a Trustee was appointed by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to liquidate its assets. US EPA is leading Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) response actions with support from Illinois EPA. Following US EPA's "Enforcement First" approach, a search for Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs) is being conducted for the site pursuant to CERCLA authorities for clean up. On November 30, 2011, EPA issued General Notice Letters to 115 PRPs, describing their potential liability for clean up costs at the site. EPA intends to negotiate with PRPs to reach an agreement to perform the Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS). The RI/FS defines the nature and extent of contamination at the site, characterizes risks to human health and the environment, and evaluates options for clean up. The site is being addressed through both Federal and State actions.
Threats and Contaminants
Approximately 452,254 cubic yards of waste slag material have been stockpiled on the northeast corner of the facility property. Approximately 62,204 cubic yards of zinc oxide (scrubber sludge) have been identified as being located in five separate areas on the Chemetco property, including a 2.5 acre concrete bunker located at the north end of the facility. Elevated levels of cadmium, copper and lead have been found in the waste slag material and the zinc oxide. Elevated levels of cadmium, copper and lead have been found in the sediments collected from the wetlands and Long Lake downstream of Chemetco.
Cleanup ProgressThe Estate of Chemetco fenced the 41 acres near the smelter operations to secure the site. Some clean up progress at the site has been made by the numerous facility assets that have been liquidated by the bankruptcy estate, including the sale of some of the more copper-rich slags for reprocessing. Limited demolition of some site buildings was ongoing between August 2010 and December 2011 by a contractor to the Estate of Chemetco, and over 3,000 tons of material has been removed from the site for recycling, reclamation, or proper disposal. Contamination at the site was documented in the Preliminary Assessment/Expanded Site Inspection conducted by Illinois EPA in 2008. The site was proposed in September 2009 then finalized on the National Priorities List on March 4, 2010, and the response lead was transferred to U.S. EPA. The extent and threat of contamination will be investigated as part of the CERCLA remedial investigation, planned to begin later in 2014.
US EPA will hold meetings and information sessions to update, receive information from, and involve the community. A mailing list and email list was developed for the site. An information repository for the site has been established at the Hartford Public Library, 143 West Hawthorne Street in Hartford, IL. Public availability sessions (open houses) were held at the Lewis & Clark State Historic site in August 2010, to share information about the Superfund process and current site activity. In December 2011, EPA hosted an Information Session for recipients of its General Notice Letter, to share information about the Superfund process and the site. EPA has also issued its Community Involvement Plan for the Chemetco site, after conducting interviews with community members in the area near the site.
ContactsRemedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA
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