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Fact Sheet 11

Off-Site Soil Sampling

Fact Sheet #11

May 2005

DePue, Illinois

This fact sheet is a project update about work to be conducted in the vicinity of the New Jersey Zinc/Mobil Chemical Superfund site in the Village of DePue beginning in May and extending into the summer of 2005. The results of historical soil sampling by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (Illinois EPA) and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) indicate that elevated levels of metals have been detected in residential and non-residential soils around the DePue site. In 1995, the State of Illinois and the potentially responsible parties (PRPs) 1 entered into an Interim Consent Order (ICO) to conduct Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS) activities, including investigation and remediation of off-site soils surrounding the Former Plant Site Area. Given the existing data, additional investigations will be conducted in the Village by the PRPs to:

  • Determine the nature and extent of potential off-site soil impacts;
  • Determine whether waste from the plant site has been used for fill or other purposes in residential yards or other off-site properties; and
  • Collect information for a human health and ecological risk assessment.

1The PRPs for this site are ExxonMobil Corporation, Viacom International Inc. and Horsehead Industries, Inc.

Do you have information about the use of soil or waste from the Superfund site for fill in yards or other locations off site?

If you have information about soil, waste, or any fill material from the plant site being used or disposed of off site at any time in the past, please contact Rich Lange, Illinois EPA, at 815/447-2125. This information will help to determine which properties will be tested. Testing can determine whether a property has site-related chemicals at high enough concentrations to be a problem for human or ecological health.

Public Availability Session

Illinois EPA will host a public availability session to share information about the upcoming soil sampling within the Village and answer questions citizens may have about this work. The availability session will be held May 26, 2005 at the DePue VFW hall from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Who will conduct the sampling?

This past winter, the Illinois EPA worked with the PRPs to plan for the off-site soil sampling. In May 2005, the final work plan for a Removal Action Limit Assessment, detailing methods for sample collection and analysis, data evaluation, and reporting was approved by Illinois EPA. A copy of this work plan can be found in the project repository at the Selby Township Library in DePue. Soil sampling will be conducted by representatives of the PRPs with direct oversight by Illinois EPA’s Project Manager and an Illinois EPA contractor.

How will sample locations be chosen?

Sampling will take place in phases. The first round of samples will be collected from locations that showed elevated concentrations of metals in the IDPH 1992 sample results. (None of the samples collected by Illinois EPA in 1992 had levels of metals that pose a risk from short-term exposures.) If resampling of the IDPH locations shows elevated levels of metals, then access to adjacent yards may be requested.

How do I give permission to have my property sampled?

No yards will be sampled unless the owners give their written consent. Prior to sample collection, the PRPs with Illinois EPA support, will meet with property owners to explain the process and provide a simple access agreement that, when signed, will allow field technicians to obtain soil samples from their property. An agreed date will be scheduled for the sampling activity.

How will the investigation be conducted?

Professional technicians accompanied by Illinois EPA representatives will use hand tools to collect soil from several small-diameter (2-inch to 4-inch) boreholes. Typically, five boreholes will be placed in the front yard and five boreholes in the back yard. In addition, samples will be collected from play areas, gardens, and around downspouts on the property. Boreholes will extend to approximately 18 inches below the ground surface and will be backfilled with soil. Disturbed sod will be replaced at each location. Measurements of the location of each borehole will be made with a portable Global Positioning System (GPS) device so a record is kept of exact sample locations in the yard.

What will the samples analyzed for?

All samples will be analyzed for chromium, arsenic, lead, mercury, selenium, silver, cadmium, barium, cobalt, copper, iron, manganese, nickel, and zinc. These chemicals were chosen based on the results of previous off-site sampling in the Village.

How will sample results be reported to me?

The PRPs will submit the analytical results from the initial phase of sampling to Illinois EPA. The Illinois EPA will provide this data to IDPH, who will interpret the results and write an explanation letter to each property owner. The Illinois EPA will communicate to the property owners an explanation of the results and next steps to be taken, if any.

What will be done if concentrations of metals above Removal Action Limits are found in a yard?

The PRPs, with approval from Illinois EPA, will design a plan that addresses soils that exceed established limits. Yards that do not exceed these limits will be further evaluated in the subsequent Remedial Investigation.

Will there be additional off-site soil sampling after this first sampling phase?

Yes. The initial sampling will focus on properties where IDPH previously collected samples and adjacent properties within the village. Plans are currently being finalized for the next phase of the investigation, which will include sampling of other residential and non-residential parcels within DePue and vicinity, and agricultural/forested lands at greater distances from the Former Plant Site Area. Future investigations will focus on wind-borne deposition, direct disposal, and other mechanisms. Fieldwork on these investigations is expected to be completed this summer. The approved Phase II work plan will be placed in the project repository at the Selby Township Library in DePue.

Data from all phases of investigation will be used by the PRPs to assess the potential for remediation. The Illinois EPA will review and approve this assessment. This assessment will also be placed in the repository when complete and another fact sheet will be prepared to inform citizens of the assessment results.

Will I have to disclose sample results if I am trying to sell my house?

The State of Illinois’s Residential Real Property Disclosure Act (765 ILCS 77/1 et seq. (2002)) contains a list of items that must be disclosed by the seller of residential property in Illinois. It required the disclosure of lead in soils, but it does not specifically address the disclosure of other metals in soils on a residential lot. However, it is always advisable for a seller to consult with their real estate agent and/or attorney before making any decision on what does or does not need to be disclosed during the sale of residential property.

For More information

Contacts: You may contact Kurt Neibergall, Illinois EPA Community Relations Coordinator (217) 785-3819, or Rich Lange, Illinois EPA Project Manager (815) 447-2125, at 1021 North Grand Ave. East; P.O. Box 19276, Springfield, IL 62794-9276.

Repositories: The Illinois EPA has placed project documents in the Selby Township Library in DePue for public review. Please call the library for hours at (815) 447-2660.

Administrative Record File: The administrative record file contains all documents upon which project decisions are based. This file is located in the Springfield office of the Illinois EPA. Call for an appointment at 217/782-9878. A copy of the administrative record file index is located in the project repository in the Selby Township Library in DePue. The documents listed in this index are included in the repository documents.

PRP Contacts: The PRP co-project managers are Joseph Abel (Exxon Mobil Global Remediation, East Providence Terminal, Providence, RI, telephone number (401) 434-7356 and Mark Travers (ENVIRON, 123 North Wacker Dr. Suite 250, Chicago, IL 60606, telephone number (312) 853-9430).