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11/22/2018 10:43:00 AM
Clean-up plan for East Chicago's contaminated DuPont site finalized

Craig Lyons, Post-Tribune

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is finalizing an order for cleaning up contaminated material at a former DuPont facility in East Chicago.

Jennifer Dodds, an EPA project manager, said the EPA has gotten a signed corrective measures implementation action with the parties held responsible for contamination and now will start planning the clean-up.

“As of yesterday, all parties involved have signed the order and it has been filed,” Dodds said Nov. 17.

The parties will have 90 days to submit a work plan for the clean-up, which the EPA will then review and modify if necessary, she said, adding work may start next year.

The focus at the 440-acre former DuPont facility, at 5215 Kennedy Ave., will be on removing contaminated material from a solid waste landfill, open or filled land and other industrial property at the site, and treating groundwater. Arsenic, lead, zinc and cadmium are the contaminants, the EPA said.

Some 61,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil must be removed, groundwater will be treated and steps taken to prevent it from leaving the site, and fencing will be installed, according to a press release, which also said there will be compliance with industrial zoning requirements and health and safety rules for digging and financial assurances from the site owner.

The clean-up will be aimed at 55 acres for redevelopment; 50 acres that was a former solid waste landfill; and a 30-acre leased area, according to the EPA.

During a March public hearing, Greg Townsend, business development director for Chemours, which owns the former DuPont property, said the company plans to do everything required to clean the site and ready it for redevelopment.

Dodds said the EPA was notified that Chemours transferred the title for the property to East Chicago Gateway Partners, a redevelopment firm.

Throughout the process to develop a clean-up plan, residents and community advocates have raised concerns about contaminated groundwater leaking into residential neighborhoods. The EPA has said any groundwater issues are being handled under the Superfund program and not the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act program.

Mary Fulghum, an EPA attorney, said the final plan did address residents’ concerns by noting that if Superfund was unable to do that work, it would fall under RCRA.

“We still have RCRA authorities to address groundwater,” she said.

Related Stories:
• EPA to install 14 wells throughout U.S.S. Lead Superfund site in East Chicago

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