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Enforcement Actions in 2020 Address Public and Residential Property Soil Cleanup at Illinois Superfund Site

In 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) completed two enforcement actions at the DePue/New Jersey Zinc/Mobil Chemical Site (Site) located in DePue, Illinois to address cleanup of contaminated soil on public and residential property.

On January 23, 2020, the EPA issued a unilateral administrative order (UAO) to TCI Pacific Communications, LLC (TCI) and CBS/Westinghouse of PA, Inc., for cleanup work at the site’s operable unit (OU) 4. The value of the cleanup work is $10 million.

On November 6, 2020, the EPA entered into a settlement agreement with TCI and ExxonMobil Oil Corporation for the completion of a remedial investigation/feasibility study (RI/FS) for the sites’ OUs 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6. The value of the settlement agreement is $600,000.

These enforcement actions enhance the overall cleanup plan at the site, which prioritizes the cleanup of residential soils. The first phase of soil cleanup will focus on public property such as parks, athletic fields and schools. The cleanup will then move onto residential properties where contamination was found to be in exceedance of EPA standards. The current cleanup of residential soils, primarily taking place in residents’ yards and gardens, provides a direct and immediate positive impact to the community of DePue. The RI/FS activities will further identify the nature and extent of contamination and result in the final cleanup of all operable units at the site

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Information about the Settling Parties

Between 1905 and 1989, portions of the site were owned and operated by the New Jersey Zinc Company, Mobil Oil Corporation, Gulf & Western Industries (G&W), Horsehead Industries and the Zinc Corporation of America, which are corporate predecessors of the settling parties listed below. The settling parties associated with the 2020 enforcement actions are:

  • TCI Pacific Communications LLC constructs, acquires, owns and operates cable television systems.
  • CBS/Westinghouse of PA is a subsidiary of CBS/Westinghouse, a multinational media corporation.
  • ExxonMobil Oil Corporation is a gas exploration and production company.

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Information about the DePue/New Jersey Zinc/Mobil Chemical Superfund Site

The DePue/New Jersey Zinc/Mobil Chemical Superfund site in DePue, Illinois is a 950-acre area that at one time contained a primary zinc smelting facility and a phosphate fertilizer plant. The site is contaminated with elevated levels of metals that include zinc, lead, arsenic, cadmium, chromium and copper. From approximately 1903 to 1989, the contaminants listed above were released into the soil through various manufacturing operations. After approximately 25 years under state lead, the DePue Site was transferred to EPA in October 2019 to continue negotiations with responsible parties on performing the investigation and cleanup work at the site.

The site was added to the Administrator’s Emphasis List (AEL) on October 30, 2019. The AEL milestone for the site was to negotiate and reach agreement with the responsible parties to conduct the cleanup at the site’s Operable Unit 4 by Feb. 1, 2020. On April 16, 2020, the Agency announced new AEL milestones to accelerate cleanup at the site, including finishing the remedial investigation/feasibility study for the remainder of the site.

More information on the site is available on the Agency’s DePue/New Jersey Zinc/Mobile Chemical Superfund site profile webpage.

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Overview of the Unilateral Administrative Order and Settlement Agreement

The UAO requires the responsible parties to design a remedy and devise a cleanup plan for soil in residential areas, public property, parks, alleys, a school, and other miscellaneous properties known as OU4. The OU4 cleanup must satisfy all the requirements outlined in the Illinois EPA’s June 2017 Record of Decision.

The Administrative Settlement Agreement on Consent (ASAOC) for RI/FS requires the responsible parties complete an RI/FS for OUs 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 at the site, pay the Agency’s costs of overseeing the RI/FS work, and provide financial assurance for the required work.

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Contact Information

For more information contact

Barbara Gutierrez
Attorney Advisor
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20460

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