EPA Finalizes Cleanup Agreements for Former West Calumet Housing Complex Property on the USS Lead Superfund Site in East Chicago, Indiana
Cleanup at the former housing complex property is expected to begin spring 2023
CHICAGO (September 20, 2022) – Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency finalized two settlement agreements that provide a framework for the cleanup of the former West Calumet Housing Complex property in Zone 1 of the USS Lead Superfund site in East Chicago, Indiana. With this step, EPA will ensure lead-and-arsenic-contaminated soils that pose a risk to human health and the environment are removed, and the property is made safe for redevelopment.
The two agreements are a prospective purchaser agreement, or PPA, and an administrative settlement agreement and order on consent, or ASAOC. The PPA requires Industrial Development Advantage of East Chicago LLC, the new owner of the former housing complex property, to clean up the property as required by the 2020 record of decision amendment and the explanation of significant differences, which is described below. EPA and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management will oversee the cleanup.
The ASAOC requires five companies, all of whom owned and operated lead-processing facilities in East Chicago, to pay future oversight costs incurred by EPA and IDEM, provide $13.5 million of financial assurance to ensure sufficient funds to complete the cleanup, and reimburse EPA for $18 million in past cleanup costs primarily associated with other areas of the site.
In 2020, the former housing complex was rezoned by the city of East Chicago from residential to light industrial use. On August 25, 2022, Industrial Development Advantage purchased the property with the stated intention of building a warehouse and transportation logistics center. On September 18, 2022, EPA issued an explanation of significant differences that confirms the cleanup standard at the former housing complex property is industrial rather than residential and affirms that the industrial cleanup standard is protective of human health and the environment.
In the coming months, Industrial Development Advantage is required to submit work plans for review and approval to EPA and IDEM. Field work is expected to begin in spring 2023. EPA intends to host a public meeting before cleanup work begins.
The PPA, ASAOC, and ESD are available for review online at the USS Lead website.
The public can review these documents in-person at the following locations:
- East Chicago Public Library Main Branch, 2401 E. Columbus Dr., East Chicago, Indiana
- Robert A. Pastrick Branch Library, 1008 W. Chicago Ave., East Chicago, Indiana
- EPA Region 5 Records Center, 77 West Jackson Boulevard – 7th Floor, Chicago, Illinois.
Please visit the USS Lead website for more information about the site.