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EPA in Indiana

Hazardous Waste Cleanup: DuPont Facility - East Chicago, Indiana

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In 1997 EPA issued an Administrative Order on Consent for the site after a wide-ranging study of soil and groundwater conditions at the DuPont facility was performed.  The facility is located in East Chicago, Indiana.  The Order said that DuPont must perform work consisting of a RCRA Facility Investigation.  This determined the nature and extent of any releases of hazardous waste from the facility. The company was also required to implement interim remedial measures where necessary and submit a corrective measures study to identify and evaluate cleanup alternatives.  In February 2015, the DuPont facility was transferred from DuPont to Chemours, a new wholly-owned subsidiary of DuPont, because of a corporate reorganization.

    Cleanup Status

    EPA’s proposed plan, known as the Statement of Basis, for the western portion of the industrial area requires cleanup of the remaining soil and groundwater contamination.  Results from investigations indicate arsenic, lead, zinc and cadmium are the primary pollutants in the soil ranging from the surface to 10-feet deep. Arsenic is the primary contaminant in the groundwater. 

    After evaluating all the proposed alternatives, EPA proposes the following cleanup steps to manage contaminated soil and groundwater at the DuPont East Chicago facility:

    • Soil - A permeable soil cover and source-area soil excavation with on-site management.
      Removal of 61,780 cubic yards of metal-contaminated soil and replacement with clean soil. Placement of a 1-foot-thick permeable soil cover in addition to maintaining other existing barriers such as asphalt (parking lot) or concrete (building foundations, etc.) to reduce risks to both human health and wildlife
    • Groundwater – In-situ (in-place) chemical fixation via sulfate reduction injections and a bio-wall trench.
      ​Addition of sulfate into the groundwater to prevent the movement of arsenic-contaminated groundwater off-site at both the northern and southern ends of the facility.
    • Institutional Controls – Maintenance of institutional controls ensures the site’s land use remains consistent with the cleanup goals.
      The site owner will maintain controls including compliance with industrial zoning, a security fence, and compliance with permit health and safety requirements for digging or other kinds of intrusive activity. In addition, deed restrictions will be put in place to prevent nonindustrial use of the property inconsistent with the cleanup plan, the installation of on-site drinking water wells and to notify any future workers or developers of the potential for vapor intrusion risks in new buildings. 
    • Financial Assurance - Provide funds to complete the cleanup including long-term operation maintenance and monitoring.
      The total estimated cost of EPA’s proposed remedy is about $22.6 million. The site owner is required to provide financial assurance to verify the proposed cleanup can be implemented over its expected lifetime of at least 30 years.
    • Five-Year Remedy Reviews - Implemented to make sure the selected remedy is working effectively and make adjustments if needed.
    • Enter into Corrective Action Implementation Order – ensure compliance with cleanup plan.

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    Site Description

    The entire DuPont East Chicago facility is approximately 440 acres.  The property is bounded to the south by the East Branch of the Grand Calumet River, to the east and north by residential and commercial areas, and to the west by an industrial area.  The western portion of the facility contains:

    • The former industrial property available for light industrial redevelopment,
    • Open and/or filled land,
    • A solid waste landfill, and
    • Leased industrial property.

    The eastern portion contains the 172-acre Natural Area and adjacent 23-acre Buffer Zone. The Natural and Buffer Zone areas were cleaned up under a separate corrective action decision and a long-term monitoring program in 2014.

    Development of the East Chicago property was largely confined to its western portion. The southern section of the developed area was used for chemical manufacturing, while the northwestern section and northeastern edge of the site were used for waste management. Most of the previously active manufacturing areas have been decommissioned and the production facilities removed. The exception is the 30-acre southwest corner of the site where industrial facilities continue to operate under a lease to a separate owner. This leased area is included in this cleanup.  

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    Contaminants at this Facility

    Results from 2002 and 2004 RCRA facility investigations and previous investigations conducted by DuPont indicated that arsenic, lead, zinc, and cadmium are the primary contaminants of concern in the soil (from about 0 to 10 feet below ground). Arsenic is considered the primary pollutant in groundwater at the facility because of how it is distributed and its high concentrations.

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    Institutional and Engineering Controls at this Facility

    Institutional controls, if required, will be determined at the time of remedy selection.

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    Land Reuse Information at this Facility

    DuPont is actively looking for redevelopment and reuse opportunities for the western portion of the facility. 

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    Site Responsiblity at this Facility

    RCRA Corrective Action activities at this facility are being conducted under the direction of EPA Region 5.

    • Leased industrial property.
    • A solid waste landfill, and
    • Open and/or filled land,
    • The former industrial property available for light industrial redevelopment,

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