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EPA in Indiana

Cline Avenue Ditch Site

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The Site is located near the northeast corner of the intersection of Gary Avenue and Cline Avenue (Indiana Route 912) in Gary, Lake County, Indiana. The Site is bordered by a rail line and the airport property to the north and east, Gary Avenue to the south, and Cline Avenue to the west. The Site lies within the larger, heavily industrialized area to the west of the airport .

The Cline Ave Ditch (Ditch) is located along the east side of Cline Avenue and oil sheens have periodically been observed on water in the Ditch. The Ditch flows to the south and into a subterranean pipe/culvert for approximately ½ miles and discharges into the Grand Calumet River. In June 2004, EPA responded to a reported release of oil to the Grand Calumet River. Initial investigations identified the oil  as coming from a portion of the ditch along Cline Avenue. Containment and sorbent booms were placed to contain oil entering the ditch. EPA conducted response actions that included the removal of impacted material along the embankment, backfilling the embankment and installing erosion protection.

Later, January 2011, EPA responded to additional oil in the Cline Avenue Ditch, north of the intersection of Cline and Gary Avenues. EPA installed and maintained absorbent booms to capture floating product and prevent it from migrating to the Grand Calumet River. EPA also placed additional booms along the eastern embankment of the Ditch near five identified oil seeps. EPA continued to conduct boom maintenance and bird hazing operations until 2017.

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What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?

In March 2017, after a public comment period, EPA entered a Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) 7003 Administrative Order on Consent (AOC) with Oxy USA, Inc. (OXY). Under the AOC,  Oxy  took over maintaining the absorbent boom materials controlling the sheen impacts in the ditch, and conducted investigations necessary to develop a feasibility study and design investigation to evaluate and develop potential final cleanup measures. The final cleanup measures identified by the feasibility study are to permanently control and mitigate the releases of oil or petroleum wastes and waste constituents. The final cleanup measures are also designed to assure that contamination does not migrate off-site via groundwater at levels that present unacceptable risks

OXY’s subsidiary, Glenn Springs Holding (GSH), conducted the feasibility study under EPA’s supervision (in consultation with the State), and has prepared a proposed cleanup plan to eliminate the release of oil into the Cline Ave Ditch. The feasibility study investigation was conducted in multiple phases in order to develop information on physical, geological, and hydrogeological conditions at the Site, including data on soil, surface water, and ground water contamination.

A conceptual site model (CSM) of the petroleum and related contamination was developed based on the nature and extent of the contaminated material identified through data from the investigation. The CSM evaluated the conditions creating potential for release of oil and petroleum wastes laterally from the sidewalls and upward from the bottom of the ditch.

OXY is now proposing to construct and implement final cleanup measures (following EPA approval after its consideration of public comments) as additional work under the AOC.

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What Is the Current Site Status?

Investigation Summary

The design investigation indicated the presence of oil across most of the site east of the ditch.  However, most of the oil is below the water table, restricting it from movement. The area along the eastern edge of the ditch where there are visual observations of oil discharging into the ditch are a result of pooled oil that lacks the resistance from saturated soils and has found a pathway to the surface.  The oil is not moving in bulk from the site, but from isolated pockets near the surface of the embankments.   Supplemental investigations also indicated that there is minimal oil on the western edge of the ditch, indicating that the source of the oil is along the eastern embankment and underneath the ditch.

Groundwater Study

Ten water-table monitoring wells were installed both on and off-site in the immediate area of the Cline Avenue ditch to determine if any contaminants have moved off-site.  Groundwater sampling indicated that petroleum-related groundwater impacts are limited to on-site monitoring wells, with no detectable volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or semivolatile organic compounds (SVOCs) in wells off-site to the west and southwest.

Feasibility Study

Using historical site data and information collected from the design investigation, as well as the groundwater monitoring study; several remedies were evaluated for their effectiveness, implementability, cost, and ability to meet the cleanup goals and protect the public.  The feasibility study identifies the proposed remedy.

Contaminant Risks

Results from the investigation show that oil is discharging from seeps along the eastern edge of the Ditch.  The proposal is designed to prevent oil from entering the ditch and prevent contaminants from moving off-site.

Cleanup Goals

The goal of the cleanup is to prevent the release of oil from the Site into the Cline Ave ditch and ultimately the Grand Calumet River. Long-term groundwater monitoring at the Site will ensure that contaminants that remain are not leaving the site and creating an unacceptable risk.

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Proposed Remedy

  • Installation of a storm sewer pipe to replace the open channel ditch
  • Removal of oil impacted material above the paver stones within the ditch and in construction areas where impacted soils are disturbed
  • Installation of low permeability collars (or engineered equivalents)
  • Sealed pipe joints
  • Installation of soil/bentonite cut off wall
  • Long-term monitoring and reporting

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Public Involvement

For More Information

The public is encouraged to review the Administrative Record and comment on the Proposed Remedy. The Administrative Record is available during normal business hours at the  Gary Public Library  and Cultural CenterExit, 20 W 5th Ave, Gary, Indiana.

You may call EPA toll-free at 800-621-8431, 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., weekdays

EPA will make a Final Decision on the Proposed Remedy after the public comment period ends and all comments are reviewed. EPA may modify the Proposed Remedy based on any new information and comments from the public.

For more information or to request a virtual public meeting, contact Janet Pope at 800-621-8431, Ext. 30628, or (, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., weekdays, by July 30, 2020.

Comments or requests for information must be submitted prior to the expiration of the public comment period, which ends August 21, 2020.

Guidelines for Commenting:

  • Explain your views.
  • Tell us if you support or disagree with the Proposed Remedy. Please be specific.
  • Provide potential alternatives to the Proposed Remedy.

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