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Case Summary: EPA Agreement Will Start Clean Up of Contaminated Soil at the U.S. Smelter and Lead Refinery Superfund Site

On October 28, 2014, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana approved a consent decree between the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the state of Indiana, Atlantic Richfield Company, and E.I. du Pont De Nemours and Co. (DuPont). Under the settlement, Atlantic Richfield and DuPont will spend an estimated $21 million to clean up contaminated soil in the Calumet neighborhood of East Chicago, Ind.

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Information about the Companies

Atlantic Richfield Corporation (ARC) was created in 1966 by the merger of Richfield Oil Corporation and Atlantic Refining Company. ARC was bought in 2000 by the BP Amoco (later BP PLC).

E.I. du Pont De Nemours and Co. (DuPont) is an American chemical company headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware. Since entry of the Consent Decree, DuPont has restructured itself and created a separate company known as The Chemours Company. Accordingly, Chemours notified DOJ and EPA that it will assume DuPont’s responsibilities under the consent decree.

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Information about the U.S. Smelter and Lead Refinery Superfund Site

The U.S. Smelter and Lead (USS Lead) Refinery Superfund Site is located on a 79-acre tract of land in East Chicago, Ind. and includes both the former USS Lead facility and nearby contaminated commercial, municipal, and residential properties. ARC and DuPont both operated facilities in the area that EPA believes contributed to the contamination. The primary contaminants of concern at the site are lead and arsenic. A November 2014 factsheet on the agreement with ARC and DuPont discusses the cleanup work to be performed under the consent decree.

Smelter operations began at the Site in 1906, with the smelting of copper. In 1920, title to the property was transferred to USS Lead. Between 1972 and 1973, the USS Lead facility was converted to operate exclusively as a secondary lead smelter, recovering lead from automobile batteries and other sources of secondary lead. USS lead operations ceased in 1985. And while USS Lead was a significant contributor to contamination in the area, EPA’s investigations indicate that other facilities were also significant sources of contamination to the residential area.

More information about the U.S. Smelter & Lead Refinery Superfund Site.

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Summary of the Consent Decree

Before work begins, EPA officials will meet with property owners to discuss details of the cleanup on their property. In general, workers will dig up and remove contaminated soil up to two feet deep and replace it with clean soil, including six inches of topsoil. As a final step, workers will put grass seed or lay sod on the topsoil, restoring each yard to a healthful and clean condition – all at no cost to the homeowner. The responsible parties will transport the contaminated soil to a licensed landfill for proper disposal. EPA anticipates that approximately 723 residential yards will be cleaned up.

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Contact Information

For information contact

Steven Kaiser
Assistant Regional Counsel
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Region 5
77 W. Jackson Blvd
Chicago, IL 60604-3590

David Smith-Watts
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20460

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