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Congressional District # 19


EPA ID# ILD050231976
Last Updated: May, 2015

Site Description

The Circle Smelting Superfund Site is located on a 28-acre parcel of land situated along Old Illinois State Highway 50 in the northeast corner of the Village of Beckemeyer, Clinton County, Illinois. The site was originally constructed as a primary zinc smelter around 1904 and was later converted into a secondary zinc smelter around 1920. The site also includes areas in the Village of Beckemeyer, where cinders from the smelter were deposited.

The smelter property was previously operated by Circle Smelting Corporation. Federated Metals Corporation, a division of Asarco, is a past owner and operator of the property. In August 2005, Asarco filed for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the bankruptcy code. Under a bankruptcy settlement announced in December 2009, the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other federal and state agencies received money to fund environmental cleanup and restoration work at numerous sites across the country for which Asarco was a liable party. 

During the smelter's operation, waste materials such as slag, cinders and debris, all of which can have high lead concentrations, were disposed throughout the site. Cinders from the smelter were also used in certain areas within the Village of Beckemeyer as a surface material for walking paths, driveways, and alleys.

Prior to its bankruptcy, Asarco entered into an agreement with EPA to clean up the site and the adjacent residential areas. Under the agreement, Asarco was required to investigate the nature and extent of the cinders from the former smelter and to remove materials that exceed EPA's cleanup standards.

EPA proposed the site to the National Priorities List (NPL) in 1996 but never finalized the site on the NPL. Instead, EPA's removal program cleaned up approximately 170,000 cubic yards of contaminated material and placed the materials in an on-site repository.

Site Responsibility

The site is being addressed by EPA in consultation with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA).

Threats and Contaminants

High concentrations of zinc, lead, nickel, and cadmium were found in samples from a drainage way which flowed past the site. Samples from residential and agricultural lands surrounding the facility revealed high concentrations of zinc, cadmium, copper, nickel, and lead. This area of contaminated soil was determined to be approximately 21 million square feet. Soil and surface water have been contaminated by the site. Analytical results from surface water samples document that hazardous substances have migrated from the site to Beaver Creek.

Cleanup Progress

Cleanup of the site by EPA's removal program began in the fall of 1998 and was concluded in 2010. EPA's remedial program is currently evaluating the site to determine if there is any remaining contamination that needs to be addressed. A data gap analysis is being conducted and should be concluded by summer 2015.


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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