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Fact Sheet 11

Natural Resource Damage Assessment Process at Indian Refining/Texaco Superfund Site

Fact Sheet #11

December 2004

Lawrenceville, Illinois


The former Indian Refining Company/Texaco Refinery property consists of approximately 990 acres along the southeast portion of Lawrenceville. The facility operated as an active petroleum refinery from the early 1900’s until the mid-1990s. During the early part of the last century, a lube oil refinery was located on what is known today as Indian Acres and Indian Acres North, on the northeastern portion of the property. That area was later used for waste disposal, including lube oil filter clay sludge, acid sludge, and possibly other wastes. Waste materials from this facility are also found in numerous areas south of the B & O Railroad tracks, which runs east-west across the site. The site was investigated by the Illinois EPA and was named to the National Priorities List of Superfund Sites in 2000.

Acidic tar-like waste material was removed from several residential properties just north of the site during fall 1996 and fall 1997. Additional investigation in residential areas in spring 2000 revealed no new areas of this type of site-related waste material. Demolition of the main refinery units began in 1998, and nearly all of the aboveground structures have been cleaned, dismantled and taken off-site. The Illinois EPA and the Illinois Attorney General filed an action against ChevronTexaco Corporation in federal court, resulting in a Consent Decree in 2001, which directs ChevronTexaco to conduct a Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study (RI/FS). The current site owner is American Western Refining, Inc.

Phase I sampling outlined in the Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS) Work Plan began in late 2001. Much of the Phase I sampling is now complete, and a draft report has been prepared for review. A Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) Plan will be coordinated with the ongoing RI/FS investigation to include sampling consistent with Natural Resource Trustee needs. A Pre-Assessment Screen has been completed and signed by the Trustees.

What is a Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA)?

The NRDA is used in environmental restoration to repair or compensate for natural resource losses and injuries caused by oil or hazardous substances released into the environment. Natural resources include land, air, surface and ground water, fish and wildlife.

Please describe the process for an NRDA at a site such as the former refinery.

Trustees for the NRDA are:

  • Illinois EPA
  • Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The NRDA is a multi-step process that begins with a Pre-Assessment Screen (PAS). The PAS is a review of site-specific data to determine whether a release of contaminants may have injured natural resources and to determine how easily data needed to perform an assessment can be obtained.

Due to the presence of uncontrolled waste and other contami-nation at the soil surface at various locations throughout the portion of the site nearest the Embarras river, the screening criteria were met. The Natural Resource Trustees (Trustees) will now assess injuries to natural resources, which may then be evaluated and converted to actual damages in the damage determination phase.

Next, the Trustees will evaluate a restoration plan that outlines a number of alternatives to adequately address the resource damages. This will be made available for public comment. The final step is to implement the plan and to ensure its success.

Will information collected during the Remedial Investigation (RI) process under Superfund provide the data necessary for the NRDA?

In a typical RI, information is not specific enough to adequately address NRDA concerns. However, at the former Indian Refining/Texaco Superfund site, the Trustees and Chevron Texaco Corporation are working together to address both investigations simultaneously. As a result of this integration, some biological studies necessary for the conduct of the NRDA will be collected during the RI process. This will be the first time that this level of coordination has been achieved in Illinois.

The benefit of coordinating the collection of the data is that it results in increased efficiency and reduced costs and effort for both the natural resource agencies and ChevronTexaco.

What is the study area?

The scope of the areas to be studied include: property within the Site boundaries and the Embarras River from the Highway 50 (not Business 50) bridge to just south of the Site boundaries (see attached map). In addition, any natural resource outside the site that has been potentially affected by site contamination is part of the study area and may be investigated.

What will be done to investigate the fish and wildlife habitat, such as the wetlands and other areas that provide habitat for migrating birds?

The state and federal Trustees completed a Pre-Assessment Screen (PAS) in 2004. The PAS evaluated what natural resources may have been affected by oil and hazardous waste on the former refinery property and the surrounding area, including the Embarras River.

The data collected for the RI and the PAS will be used to determine the extent of natural resource injuries to wildlife habitats, including wetlands.

Will the eventual cleanup allow for long-term land reuse plans that might include parks, recreational areas or conservation areas?

Once injuries have been determined and damages evaluated, a plan will be developed to compensate for the injuries. The Trustees will evaluate all possible alternatives for long-term land reuse, including restoration of natural resources for use as parks, recreational areas or conservation areas. The Trustees will select an alternative based on regulatory criteria and public input.

Many factors, such as the type of resource injured, the extent of the cleanup, the cost, public comments, landowners’ intentions for the property, and community land-use plans go into the development and selection of restoration plan options.

Examples of habitat improvements to local lands might be: purchasing floodplain farmland to be planted in trees to replace lost floodplain forest, or making improvements on a local stream by installing ripple pools to aid fish spawning and water quality.

Will there be any public involvement in the NRDA process?

Yes. The Natural Resource Trustees will host a public availability session in the spring (2005). The Trustees will be available to answer questions about the Natural Resource Damage Assessment process, and Illinois EPA staff will respond to questions about the ongoing RI/FS-related site work. A flyer announcing this public meeting will be sent to the site mailing list. If you are not on the mailing list, but would like to be, please contact Carol Fuller by phone or e-mail (see below).

Documents from the NRDA investigation, such as the PAS Report and the Funding and Participation Agreement, will be added to the public repository at the Lawrence Public Library at 814 Twelfth St. in Lawrenceville.

For more information, please contact:

Carol L. Fuller

Community Relations Coordinator

Illinois EPA

Office of Community Relations

Greg Ratliff

Project Manager

Illinois EPA

Bureau of Land,

National Priorities Unit

Maggie Carson

Central Management Services

Public Information Officer

Office of Communication and Information

Ginger Molitor

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

4469 - 48th Ave. Court

Rock Island, Illinois 61201

309 -793-5800, ex. 212

fax 793-5804
Beth Whetsell

Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources

One Natural Resources Way

Springfield, Illinois 62702


fax 524-4177