Illinois, like many other states, has its fair share of Superfund sites. These sites are located throughout the state, from the western regions of Rockford and Mendota to the southern regions of Cairo and Tamms. Some sites have been on the Superfund list for decades, while others have been added more recently.
One of the earliest Superfund sites in Illinois is the Joliet Army Ammunition Plant, which was added to the list in 1983. During World War II, the plant produced ammunition and explosives, and the site was later used by private industries and government agencies for a variety of activities. Under the Superfund program, this area was found to be contaminated with a variety of chemicals, including solvents, metals, and explosives, all of which can cause serious health effects.
To the north of Joliet lies the Kerr-McGee site, also known as the Kress Creek Superfund. This site was added to the list in 1984 after it was found to be contaminated with a variety of chemicals, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which can cause a range of health effects, including cancer and neurological damage.
One of the most well-known Superfund sites in Illinois is the Lake Calumet Superfund site, which was added to the list in 2010. Located on the southeast side of Chicago near Lake Michigan, the site is contaminated with a variety of chemicals, including lead, arsenic, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), all of which have been linked to serious health conditions. The site is home to several industrial facilities, including a steel mill and a petroleum refinery.
In recent years, several new Superfund sites have been added to the list in Illinois. One of which is the former Wood River Power Plant in Madison County, added to the list in 2019. The site is contaminated with a variety of chemicals, including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and asbestos, a known carcinogen.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), along with various state agencies and local officials have been tasked with cleaning up these sites. In the end, their goal is to restore the sites back to safe, habitable zones for human activity as natural ecosystems.
The assessment of these sites involves the collection of data on the site, including information about the chemicals present, the extent of the contamination, and potential sources of contamination. Feasibility studies evaluate the potential remediation options for the site, considering factors such as the effectiveness of the options, the cost, and the potential impacts on the environment and public health.
Remediation planning involves the development of a detailed plan for the cleanup of the site, including the selection of a preferred remedial option, the establishment of cleanup levels, and the development of a schedule and budget for the cleanup work. Implementation of remedial actions involves carrying out the cleanup work, including excavation, treatment, and containment of contaminated soil and water.
The cleanup of Superfund sites is a long and expensive process, but it is essential for protecting public health and the environment. It is important for stakeholders to work together to ensure that Superfund sites are properly cleaned up and that the parties responsible for the contamination are held accountable. By doing so, we can help to ensure a safer and healthier future for all.
The chemicals found at Superfund sites in Illinois can cause a variety of health effects, depending on the type and level of exposure. Exposure to chemicals such as lead, arsenic, and PCBs can cause neurological damage, reproductive problems, and cancer, among other health effects. Exposure to solvents such as trichloroethylene (TCE) can cause kidney damage, while exposure to asbestos can cause mesothelioma and lung cancer.
In addition to the health effects caused by exposure to chemicals, Superfund sites in Illinois can also have a significant impact on local ecosystems. For example, contamination of soil and water can lead to the loss of habitats and the extinction of species, as well as damage to the food chain and the overall health of the environment.
At OnderLaw, we believe that nobody should have to live with the life-changing effects of the chemicals negligently left behind at these sites. In the communities which surround any Superfund sites, especially active ones, exposure to these contaminants is entirely possible. For those that are exposed, the consequences may be life-altering or worse— deadly.
If a Superfund site may have impacted your community, we want to help. Lawsuits may be filed against the responsible parties for polluting the area and endangering those living nearby. In some instances, personal injury or even class action lawsuits may be filed to seek compensation for anybody who may have been hurt as a result of exposure to the deadly chemicals that have been found at these sites.
For a list of Superfund sites in Illinois, click here.