Congressional District # 22
SANDOVAL ZINC COMPANYEPA ID# ILD053980454
Last Updated: April, 2015
Sandoval Zinc Co. operated a smelter for 85 years. Zinc smelting is the process for converting zinc-bearing ores into pure zinc. The company closed in 1985 and then claimed bankruptcy. Air emissions from the plant included metals and wind-blown ash. Large amounts of the cinder/slag from smelting were used in constructing and surfacing secondary roads and for fill material on the property.
The cinder/slag material that was not used by the plant was offered to the public and village to construct roads, driveways, sidewalks and parking lots. Many areas in town exhibit evidence of past use of this material, some of which has been covered with concrete.
Site ResponsibilityThe site is being addressed through federal funds.
Threats and Contaminants
In October 2009, an Expanded Site Inspection (ESI) was conducted as part of the site assessment process. During the site assessment process, environmental regulators collect data to identify, evaluate, and rank hazardous waste sites based on criteria called the Hazard Ranking System. As part of the ESI, Illinois EPA collected sediment (mud) samples from the drainage area east of the Sandoval Zinc property to determine if contaminants had moved into Prairie Creek and wetlands. Soil samples were also collected from portions of residential areas in Sandoval. Some of these samples showed elevated levels of metals such as zinc and lead.
The Sandoval Zinc site has been the subject of a number of environmental actions over the years. In 1991 Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) removed spilled fuel oil from an above-ground storage tank. In 1993 a feasibility study that looked at cleanup options was started but not completed. In that study lead concentrations were found to be greater than 10,000 parts of lead per million parts of soil along with elevated levels of copper, nickel and zinc. More cleanup took place in 1998 when fencing around the property was repaired and replaced, and waste materials slated for removal were inventoried. Monitoring wells were also sealed and hazardous and nonhazardous waste inside buildings were removed and contained. Pressure washing, demolition and disposal of site buildings and materials were also completed.
In October 2009, an Expanded Site Inspection (ESI) was conducted as part of the site assessment process. During the site assessment process, environmental regulators collect data to identify, evaluate, and rank hazardous waste sites based on criteria called the Hazard Ranking System. As part of the ESI, IEPA collected sediment (mud) samples from the drainage area east of the Sandoval Zinc property to determine if contaminants had moved into Prairie Creek and wetlands. Soil samples were also collected from portions of residential areas in Sandoval. Some of these samples showed elevated levels of metals such as zinc and lead.
In August 2010, EPA conducted a residential sampling event. The soil sampling was a follow-up to an earlier investigation done by IEPA at the Sandoval Zinc site. The purpose of the 2010 sampling was to determine if, how much and where pollutants may have moved from the site into surrounding neighborhoods. The collected data will also support further response actions under EPA’s Superfund program.
The site was listed on the Superfund National Priorities List in September of 2011. At the same time EPA began its remedial investigation process for the site.
During late October 2011 and early November 2011, the Superfund Removal program conducted soil removals at the residences where soil sample analysis indicated that there was contamination above the action level for lead.
EPA was unable to secure an access agreement with the owner of record of the smelter in order to begin sampling to assess the extent of contamination. In May 2012 EPA obtained a warrant for access from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. Due to funding shortages, EPA was unable to begin the Remedial Investigation at the site until December 2012. EPA completed the first phase of on-site soil and groundwater sampling in October 2013 and completed background sampling in March 2014.
EPA completed the second phase of sampling in the summer of 2014. Curently a Remedial Investigation Report as well as Human Health and Ecological Risk assessments are being developed based on the sampling results.
Success StoryNo digital information is available for this section.
On July 14, 2010, EPA conducted a public meeting at the Sandoval Community Center. The meeting was conducted to explain to the residents that as part of a focused investigation for the Sandoval Zinc Co. site, EPA was asking Sandoval residents for permission to take soil samples from their property. By signing an access agreement a property owner agreed to let EPA or its contractor perform this sampling at no cost to the property owner. The soil sampling was a follow-up to an earlier investigation done by Illinois Environmental Protection Agency at the Sandoval Zinc site. Additionally, this meeting conducted a question and anwer session in order for the residents to get an understanding of the activity that would occur at the site.
Community interviews were conducted in July 2012 at the Sandoval Village to inform residents about the remedial investigation that was to begin in December 2012.
Congressman Shimkus took a tour of the Sandoval Zinc site on Friday October 7, 2011 to better understand what the NPL designation meant and what the next steps in the remedial process were.
Property ReuseNo digital information is available for this section.
ContactsRemedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA
pamela molitor (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Community Involvement Coordinator, U.S. EPA