Skip to main content

Fact Sheet 1

Fact Sheet #1

September 2011

Hartford, Illinois – Madison County

Current Onsite Activities

During the week of September 12th, 2011, demolition activities are being conducted on the Chemetco site south of Hartford. The removal of several structures will reduce the bulk of the industrial materials on the site and will dramatically change the overall look of the facility. Included in the demolition activities are the Foundry Building and adjacent American Air Filter air pollution control system, the interior demolition of the Tank House Building, and demolition of other adjacent small support buildings.

Removal, abatement and disposal of asbestos containing materials and wastes known to be present in these structures were conducted prior to beginning the demolition activities. In addition, metal bearing materials such as slag and sludge were collected from the demolition areas and consolidated away from the active areas. These remediation and relocation activities were conducted prior to demolition to reduce potential risk to the nearby community.

Structures, machinery and other materials removed during the demolition will be collected and sorted to determine which items are suitable for recycling or disposal. If necessary, these materials will be decontaminated prior to removal from the site.

Prior to, during and following the demolition process, storm water on the site will be managed by use of an existing closed loop system. Water that meets the conditions detailed in the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit for the site is discharged through the NPDES storm water outfall 005. Natural evaporation is used to manage the remaining accumulation of storm water onsite.

Site Location and Background

Chemetco is located approximately two miles south of the Village of Hartford, in Madison County, Illinois and approximately one mile east of the Mississippi River.

Chemetco Inc. was a former secondary copper smelter operation which operated from 1969 to 2001. The former smelter property occupied more than 230 acres of land, but operated on 41 acres at the smelter site. Chemetco’s major function was recycling or secondary processing of copper-bearing scrap and manufacturing residues. The facility produced primarily copper cathodes and anodes. This process produced waste byproducts such as slag, zinc oxide (scrubber sludge), and spent refractory brick. On October 31, 2001, the facility shut down and filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on November 13, 2001. On December 7, 2001, the Illinois EPA issued an order to seal Chemetco. The site was finalized on the National Priorities List on March 2, 2010.

Chemetco Inc. filed for bankruptcy in 2001, and a Trustee was appointed by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to liquidate its assets. US EPA is leading Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) response actions with support from Illinois EPA. Following US EPA's "Enforcement First" approach, a search for Potentially Responsible Parties is being conducted for the site pursuant to CERCLA authorities for clean up. The site is being addressed through both Federal and State actions.

Threats and Contaminants

Approximately 452,254 cubic yards of waste slag material have been stockpiled on the northeast corner of the facility property. Approximately 62,204 cubic yards of zinc oxide (scrubber sludge) have been identified as being located in five separate areas on the Chemetco property, including a 2.5 acre concrete bunker located at the north end of the facility. Elevated levels of cadmium, copper and lead have been found in the waste slag material and the zinc oxide. Elevated levels of cadmium, copper and lead have been found in the sediments collected from the wetlands and Long Lake downstream of Chemetco.

Cleanup Progress

The Estate of Chemetco fenced the 41 acres near the smelter operations to secure the site. Some clean up progress at the site has been made by the numerous facility assets that have been liquidated by the bankruptcy estate, including the sale of some of the more copper-rich slags for reprocessing. Limited demolition of some site buildings was begun in August 2010 by a contractor to the Estate of Chemetco, and over 1,400 tons of material has been removed from the site for recycling, reclamation, or proper disposal. Contamination at the site was documented in the Preliminary Assessment/Expanded Site Inspection conducted by Illinois EPA in 2008. The site was proposed in September 2009 then finalized on the National Priorities List on March 2, 2010, and the response lead was transferred to U.S. EPA. The extent and threat of contamination will be investigated as part of the CERCLA remedial investigation, planned for later in 2011.

US Environmental Protection Agency Contacts

Michelle Kerr

USEPA Region 5, Superfund 77

West Jackson Boulevard

Mail Code: SRF-6J

Chicago, IL 60604-3507

(312) 886-8961
Mike Joyce

USEPA Region 5, Superfund 77

West Jackson Boulevard

Mail Code: SI-7J

Chicago, IL 60604-3507

(312) 353-5546

Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Contacts

Erin Rednour

Illinois EPA, Superfund

1021 North Grand Avenue E. #24

P.O. Box 19276

Springfield, IL 62794-9276

(217) 785-8725
Tammy Mitchell

Illinois EPA, Community Relations

1021 North Grand Avenue E. #5

P.O. Box 19276

Springfield, IL 62794-9276

(217) 524-2292