Hazardous Waste Cleanup: Former Koppers Wood Treatment Facility - Carbondale, Illinois
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The former Koppers Wood-Treating Site is located in the northeast corner of Carbondale, IL. In 1986, EPA issued an Administrative Order on Consent for the facility under EPA’s Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). In 1986, the State of Illinois also issued a consent decree similar to the EPA Order. The Order said that Koppers must perform a Remedial Investigation to determine the nature and extent of any releases of hazardous waste from the facility. The company was also required to
- prepare a Feasibility Study,
- propose remedial objectives and cleanup actions, and
- evaluate cleanup alternatives.
The site is currently owned by Beazer East, Inc.
Visit our updated document database to view documents.
June 15, 2021
The hydroseeding, as part of the Soil Removal and Surface Cover Remediation Project, was completed at the end of May 2021. The construction workers have “demobilized” and removed their equipment on 5/26/2021. This round of seeding aimed to repair areas affected by heavy rains and erosion to parts of the soil cover from the past winter.
The construction workers mobilized equipment on-site and identified areas for repair from heavy rains that caused damage after the last seeding attempt. Water was pumped from these areas followed by erosion repair. Areas suffering from erosion were regraded and fill was placed along with matting and filter sock. The matting was then removed and replaced with non-woven geotextile, erosion control matting, and stone. Areas were fertilized as needed and re-seeded with wetland seed mix.
For more details, see Soil Remediation Progress Reports.
Feb. 25, 2021
EPA today announced the completion of another cleanup at the former Koppers Wood-Treating Facility at 1555 North Marion St. in Carbondale. The agency required the current owner, Beazer East Inc., to address dioxin/furan-contaminated soil on 16 acres of the site.
Work crews cleared trees and brush to expand existing soil covers and excavated more than 34,000 tons of contaminated soil. The company also seeded native plants in accessible areas and will resume seeding remaining areas in the spring. Erosion controls will be maintained at site boundaries and around the ditches and creek until the seeding is done and vegetation is established.
Previously, in 2010, Beazer East completed a six-year cleanup at the site under EPA’s supervision. The discovery of remaining contamination made additional cleanup necessary. Both cleanups were ordered under the authority of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.
February 16, 2021
Construction work to clean up the soil at the former Koppers Wood-Treating Site was completed on February 5, 2021. The construction workers have “demobilized” and removed their equipment. The remedial work included placing native plant seed in the disturbed areas. However, due to wet ground conditions, some areas were not accessible for seeding this winter.
In the spring, Beazer East, Inc. will sow seed in the remaining areas. Erosion controls will be maintained at the site boundaries and around the ditches and creek until the seeding work is completed, the vegetation becomes established and erosion potential ceases.
The soil excavation and surface cover construction remedies to clean up 15.8 acres of contaminated soil began in October 2020. Beazer East, Inc. excavated over 34,000 tons of contaminated soil from 8.4 acres. The soil was taken to the CWI Southern Illinois Regional Landfill in DeSoto. Engineered soil covers were placed over an addition 7.4 acres of contaminated soil.
For more details, see Soil Remediation Progress Reports.
2020 – 2021 Remediation, Remediation Progress Reports
On Oct. 14, 2020, Beazer East, Inc. began land clearing in preparation for the remediation of an additional 16 acres of soil contaminated with dioxin/furan compounds at its former plant. Remediation will consist of soil excavation and off-site disposal, and soil cover. EPA required this cleanup in a Sept. 29, 2019 Final Explanation of Significant Difference (pdf) . The remedial work was delayed due to an Army Corps of Engineers permit requirement that no land-clearing work be done between April and October to protect bat species. The cleanup work is expected to finish in January 2021, depending on weather.
EPA required site-wide soil delineation for dioxin/furan contamination following the 2004 Final Decision, based on new toxicity values for dioxin and concern that these compounds may not have been methodically considered in the original 1991 Remedial Facility Investigation. An ecological risk evaluation using the new data demonstrated potential risk to the environment. A new human health risk assessment demonstrated that the residual soil contamination will meet industrial/commercial risk standards following the additional 16 acres of soil cleanup.
2004 Final Decision
Between 2004 and 2010, Beazer East, Inc. completed several remedies required under the original 2004 Final Decision. In the Final Decision, EPA selected a remedy that required Beazer to:
- Construct an on-Site containment cell for contaminated media, specifically a “Corrective Action Management Unit;”
- Excavate contaminated media, including soils, creek sediment, waste piles and deconstruction debris, and consolidate the material within the containment cell;
- Cover the containment cell with an impermeable geomembrane cap;
- Relocate a portion of Glade Creek;
- Excavate contaminated sediment from Glade Creek;
- Construct interceptor/barrier trenches and a recovery well to collect subsurface creosote chemicals (dense non-aqueous phase liquid) for off-site disposal or off- site re-use;
- Place engineered covers over contaminated soil;
- Seal specific wells, eliminate a subsurface drainage system, backfill a small pond;
- Contain any contaminated groundwater within Site boundaries;
- Monitor natural recovery (MNR) of residual contamination in the creeks;
- Place an institutional control on the property to restrict how land and groundwater are used; and
- Perform a long-term operation, maintenance and monitoring program.
The creosote recovery and MNR remedies continue to operate.
The former Koppers Wood-Treating site located in the northeast corner of Carbondale was at one time the largest wood-treating plant in the world. Surrounding land use is agricultural, light industrial and residential. The plant was built around 1902 and closed in 1991. Over this period, railroad cross ties, utility poles and other wood products were treated with a variety of wood preservatives including creosote, pentachlorophenol, and arsenic. During handling and storage of chemicals, they were spilled and released, resulting in the pollution of soil, groundwater (water in soil and rock), creeks, and a small pond on the site. In 1939, a tank containing creosote was intentionally drained and released to the ground during a fire to prevent a catastrophic explosion.
Beazer East Inc., the current owner of the property, has conducted several studies at and around the site to learn the type and amount of contamination released to the environment and where it was located. This work was done under the supervision of first the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, then the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The U.S. EPA issued a cleanup proposal called a Statement of Basis for public review in August 2003. EPA selected the final remedy and issued a Final Decision and Response to Comments document in June 2004.
Beazer constructed the selected remedies between 2004 and 2010. The remedies to recover creosote from underground continue to operate. The site will be monitored for at least 30 more years.
In 2019, EPA required remediation of an additional 16 acres of soil remediation based on dioxin/furan contamination.
Site investigations have identified the primary contaminants as creosote, creosote-related chemicals, pentachlorophenol, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, dioxin/furan compounds and arsenic.
RCRA Corrective Action activities at this facility are being conducted under the direction of EPA Region 5.