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Hazardous Waste Cleanup: Former Cities Service Refinery, East Chicago, Indiana

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Congress amended the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) in November 1984, expanding the Act's cleanup provisions and prompting EPA and its state partners to develop the RCRA Corrective Action Program. The program oversees the investigation and cleanup of nearly 4,000 hazardous waste sites across the country, including many with risks comparable to Superfund sites.

EPA has negotiated two AOCs under Section 3008(h) of RCRA, 42 U.S.C. § 6928(h); one with the CITGO Petroleum Corporation for the active tank terminal, and one with OXY USA, Inc. for the closed Cities Service Refinery. The AOCs require the companies to define the nature and extent of releases of hazardous waste or constituents from the Facilities; and then to remediate any release that pose a risk to human health or the environment.

Cleanup Status

OXY/CITGGO have performed a soil and groundwater contamination screening at the property to facilitate the next steps of investigation under the order. Investigation results will be made available to the public at a library repository and this webpage. Currently available reports can be found at the Reports and Documents link in the Additional Site Information box.

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Site Description

The operating CITGO Terminal Facility occupies 228.5-acres and has 53 tanks with a capacity of approximately 180,000,000 gallons of petroleum products. The closed Cities Service Refinery occupies 93.2-acres and is owned by OXY USA. The site is located in a mixed heavy industrial and residential area of East Chicago, Indiana. The site is bound to the north and west by residential areas, and to the southwest by wetlands. The Grand Calumet River is one-half mile south of the site. The Gary/Chicago International Airport is located to the east of the site.

The CITGO Terminal Facility was used as a petroleum refinery from 1929 through 1972. The Texas-Empire Pipe Line Company, which subsequently became Cities Service Company, began operations at the site in 1929. On December 31,1972, Cities Service closed the refinery operations. From 1974 through 1976, Cities Service dismantled the refinery; the site has since operated only as a petroleum products terminal facility.

In March 1983, Cities Service created CITGO the refining, marketing, and transportation operations. In September 1983, Cities sold CITGO to The Southland Corporation, which in turn sold half of CITGO operations to Petroleos de Venezuela, South America (PDVSA). In 1990, the other half of CITGO was sold to PDVSA. CITGO operates as an independent business entity of PDVSA

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Contaminants at this Facility

Previous investigations have confirmed that there is existing oil contamination at the former Cities Service Refinery owned by OXY USA, but it is not known whether releases extend off-site.

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Institutional and Engineering Controls at this Facility

EPA may require Institutional and/or Engineering Controls at this Site as the investigation and Site cleanup progresses.

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Land Reuse Information at this Facility

EPA may require Institutional and/or Engineering Controls at this Site as the investigation and Site cleanup progresses.

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Site Responsibility at this Facility

CITGO Terminal and OXY USA are responsible for performing RCRA Corrective Action activities under EPA oversight via Federally issued Administrative Orders on Consent that became effective in January 2020.

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