plastic garbage on the river bank

plastic garbage on the mountain river bank

At OnderLaw, we understand the importance of cleaning up toxic sites that threaten the health of our communities. The A & F Material Reclaiming, Inc. Superfund site is no exception. The site is sadly one of many Superfund sites in Illinois that has been contaminated with hazardous chemicals and materials. With our experience in environmental law, the attorneys at OnderLaw are here to ensure that the environment and those around it are protected and that those responsible for the pollution are held accountable.

History of A&F Material Reclaiming, Inc. Superfund Site

A&F Material Reclaiming, Inc. was a scrap metal and recycling facility located in Greenup, Illinois. The company operated from only 1977 to 1980, during which time it accumulated various materials, including batteries, appliances, and electronic equipment, that were dismantled, sorted, and recycled on-site.

A&F Material Reclaiming, Inc. was found to have released a plethora of pollutants including toxic metals and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the surrounding soil and groundwater. The investigation also found that the facility did not comply with state and federal regulations for the disposal of hazardous waste. Despite the short duration of operation, the contamination has posed a significant threat to the health of nearby residents and workers, prompting the EPA to add the site to its Superfund National Priorities List in 1983.

Remediation efforts began shortly after being added to the National Priorities List and it took almost two decades to complete. The cleanup process involved the excavation and removal of contaminated soil and groundwater, the installation of a groundwater treatment system, and the capping of the site to prevent further contamination. While these efforts were effective, groundwater in the area remained contaminated until 2010.

After multiple reviews, the EPA was finally able to clean the site and remove the site from the National Priorities List in 2012. While the site is safe today, the overwhelming presence of contaminants at the site meant nearly two decades of possible exposure to nearby residents.

Chemicals Found at the Site

The A&F Material Reclaiming, Inc. Superfund Site was known to be heavily contaminated with various harmful chemicals that pose significant health risks to individuals who have been exposed to them. The chemicals found at the site were the result of years of improper disposal and mismanagement of hazardous waste.

Among the hazardous substances found at the A&F Material Reclaiming, Inc. Superfund Site include polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and heavy metals like lead and mercury. These contaminants have caused significant pollution to the surrounding environment and have contaminated the air, soil, and groundwater in the area.

The site was first discovered to be contaminated in the late 1980s after nearby residents began experiencing adverse health effects. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conducted a comprehensive investigation and discovered that the contamination was due to years of improper storage, treatment, and disposal of hazardous waste by A&F Material Reclaiming, Inc.

Throughout its operation, the company had been accepting various hazardous materials, including waste from electronic equipment, transformers, and capacitors. Waste from these materials was not properly disposed of leading to contaminants finding their way into the soil. Additionally, they were illegally discharging untreated wastewater into a nearby stream, which further exacerbated the pollution problem.

The contaminants at all of the Superfund sites in Illinois have posed significant health risks. The contamination at the A&F Material Reclaiming, Inc. site was been deemed a significant public health hazard for the increased risks of cancer, birth defects, and other chronic health conditions. Residents living in the vicinity of the site may have experienced some of these health conditions, and it’s important that those residents are made aware of what may have been the cause.

Health Risks Associated with Exposure to the Site’s Chemicals

From polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to heavy metals such as lead and mercury found at the site, it’s no surprise that people nearby may have been impacted.

PAHs are known carcinogens, meaning they have the potential to cause cancer. These chemicals are released when materials like coal, oil, and gasoline are burned, and can also be found in tobacco smoke and charred foods. Exposure to PAHs can lead to skin, lung, and bladder cancers, as well as respiratory issues and developmental problems in children.

VOCs are a group of chemicals that evaporate at room temperature and are commonly found in paints, cleaning products, and other household items. They can also be found in groundwater and soil at a number of Superfund sites in Illinois, including the A&F Material Reclaiming, Inc. site. Exposure to VOCs can cause headaches, nausea, dizziness, and even damage to the central nervous system and other organs.

Additionally, exposure to heavy metals like lead and mercury can lead to learning disabilities, developmental delays, neurological issues, and other serious health issues in children.

These health risks are concerning for the community surrounding the A&F Material Reclaiming, Inc. Superfund Site, and could potentially lead to lawsuits filed against the responsible parties. If you or a loved one has been impacted by exposure to these chemicals, the OnderLaw environmental attorneys may be able to help. We specialize in cases related to Superfund sites and can provide guidance and support as you navigate the legal system.

Possible Legal Action

As investigations continue into the A&F Material Reclaiming, Inc. Superfund site, the potential for lawsuits continues to grow. At OnderLaw, we have been following Superfund sites closely and are monitoring developments to determine what legal action may be warranted.

There are several different types of lawsuits that could be filed against A&F Material Reclaiming, Inc. in relation to the Superfund site. For example, individuals who have suffered health problems due to exposure to the site’s chemicals may choose to file personal injury lawsuits. These could seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering, among other damages.

Additionally, there may be grounds for lawsuits related to property damage. For example, if a nearby homeowner’s property values have been negatively impacted by the site, they may be able to file a lawsuit seeking damages for the loss of value.

Finally, there is the possibility of toxic tort lawsuits being filed. These types of lawsuits would seek to hold the company accountable for the damage it has caused to the natural environment. An environmental attorney in Illinois would be well-equipped to help determine whether this type of lawsuit is appropriate and to provide guidance on how to proceed.

Ultimately, the possibility of lawsuits will depend on the findings of ongoing investigations and the extent of the damage caused by the site. However, if it is determined that operations on the site are responsible for significant harm, it is certainly possible that legal action may be pursued. The OnderLaw environmental attorneys will continue to closely monitor the situation and provide updates as necessary.

If you feel you or your community has been impacted by this site or any of the Superfund sites in Illinois, contact us today.