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News Releases

News Releases from Region 05

EPA to temporarily suspend work at Matthiessen and Hegeler Zinc site for the winter

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

For Immediate Release No. 20-OPA-032

LA SALLE, Ill. (Nov. 12, 2020) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency EPA will suspend work at the Matthiessen and Hegeler Zinc Superfund site at the end of construction season, which is currently slated for the last week in November. Throughout the winter months, freezing temperatures and snowfall make access, excavation and property restoration difficult for EPA crews.

“This administration picking up the pace of Superfund cleanups, and we’ll be back in the spring to keep the momentum going," said EPA Regional Administrator Kurt Thiede. “Cleaning up Superfund sites not only brings environmental benefits, but can help spur local economies and create jobs in nearby communities.”

During the 2019 and 2020 construction seasons, EPA excavated and replaced contaminated soil at over 100 properties, including the Matthiessen and Hegeler Park and Northwest Elementary School, removing approximately 33,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil.

EPA will resume cleanup operations in Spring 2021. If you live in the LaSalle area, and would like to have your property sampled, please contact Ruth Muhtsun,, 312-886-6595.

The Matthiessen and Hegeler Zinc Co. operated a zinc smelter at the industrial portion of the site from 1858 until 1961. In 2003, EPA added the site to the National Priorities List (NPL) which tracks the country’s most hazardous wastes sites eligible for federal funding. Since 2016, EPA has sampled approximately 400 properties near the facility, has cleaned up an elementary school and several large parks.

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