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Southeast Rockford Groundwater Contamination

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Printable Version (PDF) (49 K, 2 pp)

Site Description

The Southeast Rockford Groundwater Contamination Superfund Site, located in Rockford, IL, is contaminated with solvents, known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which were used in the past by many industries for such things as degreasing machinery and dry cleaning. The occurrence of VOCs was first detected in certain Rockford Water Utility wells in 1981. In 1984, the Illinois EPA noted that the residential well contamination had spread. The leading contaminants of concern include 1,1,1-trichloroethane, trichloroethene, and tetrachloroethene. The site consists of three Operable Units (OUs), or cleanup projects.

Current Site Status and Cleanup Actions to Date

  • A Remedial Investigation (RI) of the contaminated drinking water, which evaluated residential wells and 117 private wells, revealed that additional residences needed to be connected to the city's water supply system.
  • After receiving public comment, the cleanup plan for the contaminated drinking water was published on June 14, 1991. The plan called for more residences to be hooked up to the municipal water supply system and for a temporary water treatment unit to be installed at one of Rockford's municipal wells.
  • By November 1991, as a result of work conducted by both U.S. EPA and the Illinois EPA, a total of 547 homes were connected to city water.
  • In May 1991, the Illinois EPA directed a RI to characterize the nature and extent of the groundwater contamination and to provide information on source areas responsible for contamination. Four areas were identified as the primary sources of groundwater contamination.
  • Fieldwork completed in October of 1991 identified eight potential sources of groundwater contamination. Additional activities from January 1993 to January 1994 concluded that there were four primary source areas that were impacting the major plume that constitutes the site.
  • After extensive study by the Illinois EPA, in July 2001, a proposed plan to cleanup and control the sources of contamination was released for public comment.
  • In June 2002, U.S. EPA and Illinois EPA published its plan to control and cleanup the sources of contamination through a number of technologies, including excavation of contaminated soil (PDF) (530 K, 2 pp), onsite low temperature thermal desorption (PDF) (65 K, 2 pp), and air stripping (PDF) (530 K, 2 pp).

Current Funding Status

  • In 1990, U.S. EPA committed $1.481 million in Removal Actions.
  • U.S. EPA committed approximately $4.868 million to connect people to city water services and for other contaminated drinking water activities.
  • Originally, approximately $1.534 million was committed to study and investigate the groundwater contamination.
  • In 1998, U.S. EPA and Illinois EPA signed a consent decree with a number of potentially responsible parties. Among a number of unique features to this consent decree, over 170 industries and commercial enterprises in the Rockford area contributed approximately $6 million to a special account to cleanup one of the most contaminated areas of the site (Area 7).
  • To control and cleanup the sources of contamination, approximately $4,716,232 has been spent or committed by U.S. EPA, Illinois EPA, and special accounts established by the consent decree.

For more information on the projects at this site, please read the Southeast Rockford Groundwater Contamination Fact Sheet on the Region 5 Superfund Web site.

Key Accomplishments


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