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EPA fulfills promise to begin 2-month public comment period on proposed plan to clean up zone 1 of the USS Lead Superfund site in East Chicago, Ind.

EPA will hold a public meeting on Nov. 29 to take comments

Contact Information: 
Rachel Bassler (

For Immediate Release: No. 18-OPA067

CHICAGO (Nov. 7, 2018) – On Monday, Nov. 12, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will begin a 60-day public comment period on a proposed cleanup plan for zone 1 of the USS Lead Superfund site in East Chicago, Ind. EPA conducted a feasibility study to evaluate cleanup options based on the City of East Chicago’s stated intention to zone this parcel of land for residential use.

“After extensive research and full consideration of all options, EPA proposes excavating and removing two feet of contaminated top soil in zone 1,” said Region 5 Administrator Cathy Stepp. “We made a promise to the residents of East Chicago to make this site a priority and now we are ready to put shovels in the ground and clean up the site. Moving forward with the cleanup at the USS Lead site demonstrates the Administration’s commitment to accelerating cleanups at Superfund sites across the nation.”

Under the Trump Administration, the Superfund program has reemerged as a priority to fulfill and strengthen the Agency’s core mission of protecting human health and the environment.

The USS Lead site is on the EPA Administrator’s Emphasis List of Superfund sites targeted for immediate, intense action and the proposed cleanup plan for zone 1 is a key milestone to ensure progress at the site. Under the Trump EPA, the agency made a commitment to clean up the entire site and this is the next step toward that goal. 

EPA’s proposal to clean up the site to residential standards involves removing more than 160,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil and replacing it with clean soil and seed or sod. Soil below 2 feet would remain undisturbed and in place. EPA’s preference is based on its determination that digging deeper is not meaningfully more protective of residential users and does not justify the additional cost. Excavated soil would be disposed at an approved off-site landfill.  

Digging restrictions and other controls would be instituted to protect future site users from unacceptable risks related to exposure to remaining contaminated soil. Because some contaminated soil would be left in place, EPA would conduct five-year reviews of the cleanup as required by the Superfund law.

EPA will accept comments on the proposal until Jan. 14. To submit comments:

  • Attend the public meeting on Thursday, Nov. 29, from 6 – 8 p.m., at the East Chicago Public Library, 1008 W Chicago Ave., East Chicago and submit an oral statement, or
  • Visit EPA’s website at:, or
  • Send written comments postmarked no later than Jan. 14, 2019, to Janet Pope, EPA Region 5, Superfund Division (SI-6J), 77 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL 60604, or email, or fax 312-385-5311.

EPA remains dedicated to addressing risks at all Superfund sites and will continue to provide the public with regular updates of progress at Superfund sites across the country.


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