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Case Summary: Cleanup Order Issued for the Peoples Gas Crawford Station Site in Chicago, Ill.

On September 11, 2012, EPA issued an administrative order on consent (AOC) to Peoples Gas to begin cleanup work at the Peoples Gas Crawford Station Site in Chicago, Ill. The clean up work is estimated to cost $15 million and result in the cleanup of over 100 million cubic yards of contaminated soil. The order was effective on October 11, 2011.

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Information about the Company

Peoples Gas is a regulated natural gas utility serving the City of Chicago, Ill. Formerly the Chicago Gas Light & Coke Co., it was Chicago's first gas company, organized in 1849 and began to sell gas (used for lighting) in 1850. People's Gas Light & Coke Co. was chartered in 1855 and started delivering gas to Chicago customers in 1862. A critical shift in the company's operations occurred at the end of the 1920s, when it invested in long pipelines that connected Chicago to natural gas fields in Texas. The company changed its name to People's Gas Co. in 1968; 12 years later, it became part of People's Energy Corp. This entity controlled both People's Gas and the North Shore Gas Co., which operated in northeastern Illinois. By the early 2000s, People's Energy grossed more than $2 billion and had employed over 3,000 workers in the Chicago area.

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Information about the Peoples Gas Crawford Station Site

The Crawford Station Site is a former manufactured gas plant (MGP) site, located in Chicago, Ill. The site is bounded on the south by the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, on the north by the Chicago and Illinois Western Railroad, on the west by the Chicago and Western Indiana Belt Line Railroad, and to the east by Pulaski Road (formerly Crawford Avenue). The site is currently divided into 21 parcels with various owners. In 1921, the Koppers Company of Pittsburgh and Peoples Gas entered into an agreement whereby Koppers built, financed, and operated a by-product coke plant at the Crawford Station. Peoples Gas bought the gas and coke manufactured by the Koppers Company for distribution to its consumers. Peoples Gas then acquired the facility in 1928. The site was Peoples’ largest facility in the early years of the 20th century. Production was halted temporarily between 1958 and 1962 and permanently after 1963. The station was retired in 1965. Peoples Gas sold 146 acres of the property to First American Realty Company in 1966.

Contamination at the site includes volatile organic compounds (VOCs), polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), metals, and cyanide. Impact to soil on the site is described as tar. EPA was approached by Peoples Energy in 2007, to address 13 former MGPs in Ill. under EPA’s Superfund Alternative Approach (SAA) program. Under this approach  sites that might otherwise be eligible for the National Priorities List (NPL), EPA works with a cooperative responsible party to investigate and clean up without formally listing the site on the NPL. The Crawford Station site is one of those 13 sites. More information on the Peoples Gas Crawford Station Site.

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Overview of the Administrative Order on Consent

The AOC provides for the performance of cleanup work by Peoples Gas, as well as the reimbursement of certain cleanup costs incurred by the United States in connection with the Crawford site property in Chicago, Ill. for an estimated cost of $15 million. The cleanup work is being performed by contractors for Peoples Gas under EPA's removal program at several parcels comprising approximately 13.7 acres of of the Crawford Station site. It is estimated that as much as 100 million cubic yards of contaminated soil and other material will be removed when the project is completed.

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Contact Information

For more information contact:

Peter Felitti
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Region 5
77 West Jackson Boulevard
Chicago, IL  60604

Hiral Shah
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20460