Source: http://www.chicagotribune.com, December 18, 2017
By: Craig Lyons
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ordered companies blamed for contamination in East Chicago to take over the cleanup of part of the Calumet neighborhood.
The EPA on Monday announced it filed two unilateral administrative orders against six companies held responsible for the contamination in East Chicago’s Calumet neighborhood, which is a part of the U.S.S. Lead Superfund site.
The orders would compel the companies – U.S.S. Lead, Atlantic Richfield Co., DuPont, Chemours, United States Metals Refining Co. and Mueller Industries – to remediate contaminated soil in Zone 2, which runs from McCook to Huish Drive, and do indoor dust cleaning in that area and Zone 3, which runs east of Huish. The EPA said its staff will oversee the contractors the companies hire to do the work.
“We continue to make cleaning up East Chicago a priority, to protect the health and well-being of the residents who live in the impacted areas,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruittin a statement.
The new agreements come almost a week after the EPA said the costs to remove contaminated soil from two neighborhoods on the Superfund site could quadruple from what was initially estimated.
The EPA said the cost anticipated for the two residential zones of the Calumet neighborhood are expected to increase from the estimated $22.8 million to an estimated $84.9 million.
The EPA said it based the initial cost estimate on sampling done at 7 percent of the homes in those two residential areas, according to documents, but now that testing has been done at 90 percent of the properties, the data showed more the remediate would require more resources.
The U.S.S. Lead Superfund site is one of 21 that Pruitt put on a list of sites in need of immediate and intense attention. Pruitt visited East Chicago in April and it was the first Superfund site he had went to after taking office.
Pruitt last week put the U.S.S. Lead Superfund site on a list of 21 sites across the county in need of immediate and intense attention, according to a press release.
“Getting toxic land sites cleaned up and revitalized is of the utmost importance to the communities across the country that are affected by these sites,” Pruitt said, in a statement. “I have charged the Superfund Task Force to immediately and intently develop plans for each of these sites to ensure they are thoughtfully addressed with urgency.”