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EPA orders potentially responsible parties to clean up USS Lead Superfund site, East Chicago, Ind.

Contact Information: 
Rachel Bassler (

For Immediate Release: No. 16-OPA095

CHICAGO (Dec. 18, 2017) — On Thursday, December 14, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued two unilateral administrative orders to six potentially responsible parties (PRPs) to clean up soil in zone 2, and indoor dust in zones 2 and 3 of the USS Lead Superfund site in East Chicago, Ind.

“We continue to make cleaning up East Chicago a priority, to protect the health and well-being of the residents who live in the impacted areas,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.

EPA is estimating that the soil cleanup will cost the potentially responsible parties about $24 million and the indoor dust cleanup will cost another $2.25 million. The potentially responsible parties include: USS Lead, Atlantic Richfield Co., DuPont, Chemours, United States Metals Refining Co., and Mueller Industries.

The new unilateral administrative orders direct the PRPs to continue the soil cleanups in zone 2 that EPA has been conducting this year. Operable Unit 1 of the site has three zones: the public housing complex (zone 1) and two residential neighborhoods (zones 2 and 3). The 2014 Consent Decree only funds soil cleanups for zones 1 and 3. A 2017 Administrative Settlement Agreement funds soil cleanups in zone 2, but that agreement expires early next year. This year, EPA completed soil cleanups at 109 properties in zone 2, and 120 properties in zone 3.

The UAOs announced today also direct the PRPs to continue the indoor dust cleanup that EPA has been conducting in zones 2 and 3 this year, also with funds from the 2017 Agreement. EPA cleaned indoor dust at over 64 residences this year and expects work to continue through the winter.

The soil cleanup in zone 2 is expected to satisfy all of the requirements outlined in EPA’s 2012 Record of Decision. EPA will also ensure that the potentially responsible parties follow agency protocol on interior dust sampling and cleanup. EPA will continue to conduct soil cleanups in zone 3 pursuant to the 2014 Consent Decree.

Additional Background:

On Dec. 8, Administrator Pruitt named the USS Lead site to a list of 21 Superfund sites across the nation which are receiving his immediate and intense attention. As one of his first actions as Administrator of EPA, Administrator Pruitt visited the USS Lead site and heard directly from East Chicago residents affected by contamination in their community. He pledged during his visit that federal, state, and local partners would continue to coordinate to clean up the USS Lead site. On Dec. 11, EPA issued a proposed Explanation of Significant Differences documenting the increased cost of the soil cleanup. EPA will be taking public comments on that ESD from Dec. 18 to Feb. 16.

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