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News Releases from Region 05

Developer begins sampling soil in Zone 1 at USS Lead Superfund Site in East Chicago, Ind.

Contact Information: 
Francisco Arcaute (
312-886-7613, 312-898-2042 cell

For Immediate Release No. 20-OPA-33

CHICAGO -- (Nov. 12, 2020) — Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that Industrial Development Advantage LLC (IDA) has begun sampling soil in Zone 1 of the USS Lead Superfund Site in East Chicago to further characterize the amount of lead and arsenic contamination remaining there. The City of East Chicago chose IDA to redevelop Zone 1 where the former West Calumet Housing Complex was once located.

EPA is currently in discussion with IDA on how to carry out its cleanup of Zone 1. EPA expects to release its prospective purchaser agreement with IDA for public review and comment in early 2021.

IDA is now sampling the top foot of surface soil across the entire 50 acres of Zone 1.  The developer will also sample areas under former roads, buildings and parking lots that were not previously sampled. The results will further define areas where contaminated soil must be excavated and determine requirements for disposing of it. 

“EPA has picked up the pace of Superfund cleanups across the nation, and I am eager to keep up this momentum in East Chicago until we finish the job at all the remaining properties,” said Region 5 Administrator Kurt Thiede. “Promoting redevelopment is part of EPA's core mission and helps spur the local economy and create jobs in communities near Superfund sites.”

The USS Lead Superfund Site is divided into three zones. Last month, EPA officially deleted 671 cleaned-up properties in Zones 2 and 3 from the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL).  These properties have no contamination at-depth and are now cleared for residential use. To date, lead-contaminated soil has been removed from 95% of the 1,078 properties – mostly residential – in Zones 2 and 3.

Property in Zone 1 and the remaining properties in Zones 2 and 3 will stay on the NPL until soil cleanups have been completed and confirmed. EPA continues to investigate possible groundwater contamination in the area.

The NPL tracks the nation’s most contaminated sites that threaten human health or the environment. Sites on the list are eligible for cleanup under the Superfund program. EPA removes sites or parts of sites from the list once all the remedies are successfully completed. Operations and maintenance, monitoring and five-year reviews continue as required.

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