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NPL Site Narrative for Outboard Marine Corp.

Waukegan, Illinois

Federal Register Notice:  September 08, 1983

Conditions at listing (October 1981): From 1959 to 1971, the Johnson Motors Division of Outboard Marine Corp. (OMC) in Waukegan, Illinois, purchased about 9 million pounds of PCBs. The material was used in aluminum die cast machines, which routinely leaked. In 1976, the company was found to be discharging PCBs into the Waukegan Harbor and the North Ditch; both feed into Lake Michigan. This finding was of great concern because a number of Lake Michigan fish species contain PCBs in quantities exceeding Food and Drug Administration guidelines. EPA and the State issued administrative orders requiring that the company take certain steps to eliminate discharges of PCBs. Although those steps were taken and discharges significantly reduced, a great deal of PCBs had been released to the environment.

In 1976, EPA began studies to determine the nature and extent of the PCB problem. The studies show that PCBs are distributed throughout the sediments of Waukegan Harbor, with the highest concentrations in Slip 3. About 11,000 cubic yards are at a concentration of 500 parts per million (ppm) or more, about 50,000 cubic yards beyond 50 ppm, and substantially more greater than 10 ppm. In addition, the flowing waters in the ditch annually carry sediments containing 11 pounds of PCBs into the lake. A parking lot next to the lake shore is contaminated.

In 1978, with a special $1.5 million appropriation from Congress, EPA's Region V Office investigated the extent of contamination and identified options for cleanup. In 1980, an additional $436,000, made available under Section 311 of the Clean Water Act and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, was used to study the site.

Following a breakdown of negotiations between Illinois and OMC, the Department of Justice, on behalf of EPA, filed a Federal civil action seeking injunctive relief against parties potentially responsible for wastes associated with the site.

This is the top priority site in Illinois.

Status (July 1983): In February 1983, EPA approved $100,000 to do a feasibility study, largely based on existing data to identify alternatives for remedial action at the site. A decision on the final remedy is scheduled for the third quarter of 1983.

For more information about the hazardous substances identified in this narrative summary, including general information regarding the effects of exposure to these substances on human health, please see the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) ToxFAQs. ATSDR ToxFAQs can be found on the Internet at ATSDR - ToxFAQs (http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxfaqs/index.asp) or by telephone at 1-888-42-ATSDR or 1-888-422-8737.

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