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EPA amends cleanup plan for former West Calumet Housing Complex in Zone 1 of USS Lead Superfund Site, East Chicago, Indiana

Action taken to accommodate local plans for land reuse

03/25/2020
Contact Information: 
Francisco Arcaute (arcaute.francisco@epa.gov)
312-886-7613, 312-898-2042 cell

For Immediate Release No. 20-OPA-023

EPA amends cleanup plan for former West Calumet Housing Complex in Zone 1 of USS Lead Superfund Site, East Chicago, Indiana

Action taken to accommodate local plans for land reuse

EAST CHICAGO, Ind. (March 25, 2020) --U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler has amended the 2012 cleanup plan for the former West Calumet Housing Complex in Zone 1 of the USS Lead Superfund Site in East Chicago, Ind. The amendment to the Record of Decision reflects EPA’s awareness of local efforts to redevelop Zone 1 for commercial use, although the current designation remains residential.

“Cleaning up and redeveloping Superfund sites across America is a priority of mine and the Trump Administration,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “We are committed to working with local officials to achieve their community redevelopment goals. Working with East Chicago to accommodate cleanup will provide for economic development and job creation for this community.”  

"Administrator Wheeler is delivering on EPA's promise to the people of East Chicago to accelerate the cleanup at this site," said EPA Region 5 Administrator Kurt Thiede. "Promoting redevelopment and community revitalization in East Chicago is a top priority for EPA. Considering local preferences for future land use is an important part of the Superfund cleanup program."

EPA estimates that cleanup to residential reuse standards would cost approximately $28.8 million and would take 7 months.  The cleanup would require 2 feet of lead- and arsenic-contaminated soil to be removed, disposed of off-site and replaced with clean soil.  The site would then be suitable for new housing development. In response to public comments, the ROD amendment also requires management of contaminated soil while such redevelopment is underway.

The city of East Chicago has indicated a preference for redeveloping the property for commercial/industrial use. EPA's amendment now includes a contingent cleanup plan to accommodate this potential change. If the property is re-zoned and a developer commits, the ROD amendment requires cleanup of the property to the level required for industrial/commercial reuse.  This type of cleanup would cost an estimated $14.1 million and would take approximately 5 months.  

For more information about the site, visit: https://www.epa.gov/uss-lead-superfund-site.

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