Enforcement Actions Address Continued Lead-Contaminated Residential Property Cleanup at USS Lead Site in Chicago, Illinois
On May 27, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued two unilateral administrative orders (UAOs), valued at more than $5.8 million, for cleanup work for the remaining 12 non-residential properties in Zone 3 of the U.S. Smelter and Lead Refinery, Inc. (“USS Lead”) Superfund site in Chicago, Illinois. The first UAO, issued to Atlantic Richfield, Chemours, and DuPont, requires work on 10 parcels of land. The second UAO, issued to Atlantic Richfield, Chemours, DuPont, and Wisconsin Central, requires work on two Wisconsin Central parcels.
Cleaning up these residential properties and parcels of land will greatly reduce the lead exposures of children who play, and adults who work and garden in their yards. Additionally, cleaned up property may become eligible for funding through the City of East Chicago’s Residential Repair Program. The performance of these cleanups will facilitate efforts by the city to redevelop vacant lots and bring jobs to the community and boost the local economy.
On this page
- Information about the Companies
- Information about the U.S. Smelter and Lead Refinery, Inc. Superfund Site
- Contact Information
The EPA issued the UAOs to the following companies:
- US Smelter and Lead Refinery Inc. conducted lead smelting operations at the site since the early 1900s until 1985.
- E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company(“DuPont”) manufactured the pesticide lead arsenate at the site.
- The Chemours Company FC, LLC, a spin-off of DuPont founded in 2015.
- Wisconsin Central, Ltd. is the current owner of two parcels bordering Zones 2 and 3 of the site. Wisconsin Central’s ownership is the result of a series of mergers and acquisitions dating back to 2007. Wisconsin Central, then known as the Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railway Company, first acquired portions of the two parcels in 1895, and has operated a freight railroad over tracks traversing the two parcels since that time.
Information about the U.S. Smelter and Lead Refinery Inc. Superfund Site
The USS Lead Superfund site is located in East Chicago, Indiana. The site includes part of the former USS Lead facility along with nearby commercial, municipal and residential areas. The primary contaminants of concern are lead and arsenic. Wind was one manner by which lead and arsenic was dispersed into the neighborhood. The USS Lead site was listed on the National Priorities List in 2009. The site was one of the original 21 Superfund sites that was placed on the Administrator’s Emphasis List as part of the Superfund Task Force effort.
The site is divided into two operable units (OU). The first, OU1, has been divided into three zones. These zones include a public housing complex (now demolished) and other residential properties. The East Chicago area in the vicinity of OU1 has historically supported a variety of industries. In addition to the USS Lead smelting operation, other industrial operations have managed lead and other metals and are sources of contamination in OU1. OU2 includes soil at the former USS Lead facility, as well as groundwater beneath both that facility and the residential neighborhoods.
On September 30, 2020, the EPA officially deleted 671 cleaned-up properties at the USS Lead site from the National Priorities List (NPL) and confirmed that these properties meet the cleanup level required by the 2012 record of decision (ROD). The remaining properties in Zones 2 and 3 will stay on the NPL until soil cleanups have been completed and confirmed. The EPA continues to investigate possible groundwater contamination in the area. Properties in Zone 1 will also remain on the NPL until they are remediated.
More information about the site is available on the Agency’s USS Lead Superfund site profile webpage.
For more information contact
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20460