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Congressional District # 09


EPA ID# ILN000510193
Last Updated: March, 2012

Site Description

The North Shore Avenue Station former MGP site ("North Shore Avenue Station site") is located in in Section 36 of Township 41 North, Range 13 East in Rogers Park Township of Chicago, Cook County, Illinois. The site occupies three parcels of land totaling approximately 10.2 acres and is bounded to the north by recently-constructed single family homes, to the west by North Kedzie Avenue, to the south by residential properties, and to the east by North Whipple Street. The North Shore Channel (part of the Chicago River system) is approximately 350 feet west of the western property line. Two of the three parcels are currently owned by The Peoples Gas Light and Coke Company (“Peoples Gas”). The Main Parcel, which encompasses approximately 5.4 acres, is currently used as a natural gas regulator station (the “North District Sub-Shop”) and as a vehicle maintenance shop and fueling facility for the north district of Chicago. The East Parcel, approximately 3 acres in size, is a vacant lot covered by vegetation and an unused paved entrance to the property. The remaining Pond Parcel, which is currently being developed as residential property, is approximately 1.8 acres in size.

MGPs were industrial facilities that produced gas from coal, oil, and other feedstocks. MGPs started operating in the U.S. in the early 1800s, typically in urban areas where gas was needed for lighting, cooking, and heating.  The processes used to produce the gas also produced waste and by-products such as tars, purifier waste, oils, sludges, and acidic waste. Disposal of waste and spills and leaks often resulted in contaminated soil and groundwater. MGPs were often located near waterbodies and sediment contamination is also common.

Peoples Gas built the North Shore Avenue Station and began operating it as a storage facility for manufactured gas in 1926. A 15 million cubic foot tar-sealed gas holder located on the west side of the Site was used for storage of manufactured gas from the time the station began operations. Later, the holder was used to store natural gas and/or a combination of natural and manufactured gas. The gas holder was taken out of service in 1956 for inspection and repairs. The gas holder sealant was changed from tar to oil at this time, and nearly 200,000 gallons of tar were removed from the site. The gas holder and most of the tar tanks associated with it were removed in 1971, but additional underground tar tanks may have been left in place at this time. The main gas storage facility buildings are currently used for the sub-shop operations.

Site Responsibility

The site is being addressed through potentially responsible party (PRP) actions under federal and state oversight.

Threats and Contaminants

Soil, groundwater and sediment at former MGPs are often contaminated. At the North Shore Avenue Station, soil cleanup was conducted in 1997 and 2001 under the Illinois EPA voluntary cleanup program.  Soil contained residuals of polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and cyanide. Groundwater flow is towards the North Branch of the Chicago River. Chemicals detected in groundwater samples collected at the site include barium, cyanide, and PAHs (naphthalene and fluorene). Deeper groundwater conditions at the site have not been investigated. Currently all properties are connected to municipal water service.  Sediment samples collected farther downstream in the Chicago River system contain high levels of PAHs, PCBs, oil and grease, and metals.  

Cleanup Progress

In 2005 EPA was approached by Wisconsin Public Service Corp. (WPSC)with a request to investigate and clean up seven former MGP sites in the state of Wisconsin under the Agency's Superfund Alternative Sites (SAS) program. (The SAS Program addresses potential cleanup sites that might otherwise be eligible for listing on the National Priorities List (NPL), but which will instead be investigated and cleaned up by a cooperative potentially responsible party (PRP) without formally listing the site on the NPL.) When WPSC merged with Peoples Energy to form Integrys Energy Group in 2007, Peoples Energy approached EPA with the request to address thirteen former MGP sites in the state of Illinois under the same SAS program. Two former MGP sites are located in Waukegan and eleven are in Chicago. The North Shore Avenue Station site is one of the thirteen Illinois MGP sites.

In 2007 EPA and Integrys entered into an Administrative Order on Consent (AOC) to conduct a Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study at the two Waukegan MGP sites and an AOC for Engineering Evaluations and Cost Analyses (EE/CAs) at the eleven Chicago MGP sites. Since all twenty MGP sites have similar conditions and contaminants, and Integrys the PRP for each, the AOCs allow a streamlined approach to site investigation and remedy development. Some benefits of the agreement include the use of multi-site documents, a mechanism to review the adequacy of past work, and scheduling flexibility to allow progress on the worst problems first. By the end of 2008, all of the multi-site documents had been approved, and site-specific work had begun on several of the sites. On October 31, 2008, EPA and Integrys entered into an AOC which converted the EE/CA AOC for the eleven Chicago former MGP sites to an RI/FS AOC. 

To more effectively manage all 11 original Chicago sites, the RI/FS AOC organizes them into 4 sites: the North Shore Avenue Site, the North Branch Site, the South Branch Site. and the Crawford Site.  Both the North Branch Site and the South Branch Site have several operable units. The North Branch Site is comprised of the Division Street Station Operable Unit (OU), the North Station OU, and the Willow Street/Hawthorned Avenue Station OU.  One site is the the North Shore Avenue Station Site.  The South Branch Site is comprised of the 22nd Street Station Upland OU, the Hough Place Station Upland OU, the Pitney Court Station Upland OU, the South Station Upland OU, the Throop Station Upland OU, and the South Branch River OU.

Investigations and Remediation Previously Performed

Soils in the northern portion of the site were removed to address chlorinated solvent impacts from releases on the adjoining property in 1997. Some of the solvent-impacted soils left in place had levels of contamination that exceed the Illinois residential standards, so land use in this portion of the site is restricted. Further site investigations led to the excavation of approximately 26,000 tons of soils impacted with lead and PAHs in 2001 and 2002. The tar-stained soils observed below the groundwater level in soil borings installed along the western border of the site were not removed during this remediation effort, which was completed under the Illinos EPA Site Remediation Program.  

Additional investigation of the remaining contamination will take place under the RI/FS which began in the spring 2010.


Remedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA
Ross Del Rosario (delrosario.rosauro@epa.gov)
(312) 886-6195



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