Office of Site Evaluation
The Office of Site Evaluation conducts site-specific environmental assessments to evaluate past and present industrial-commercial activities. These assessments are used to determine potential environmental migration pathways of concern, the identity and concentrations of contaminants, and the need for remedial and/or removal actions on a property.
The Office of Site Evaluation conducts CERCLA (Superfund) Site Assessments under a Superfund Site Assessment Cooperative Agreement with U.S. EPA. Work conducted under this agreement includes preliminary investigations to determine if a site should continue to be evaluated under the Superfund program, as well as more comprehensive investigations that may include sample collection, sample evaluation, and the production of site evaluation reports. A major benchmark of the CERCLA program is placing sites on the National Priorities List (NPL).
At the request of the communities, the Office of Site Evaluation also conducts Targeted Brownfields Assessments under a Brownfields 128(a) Cooperative Agreement with U.S. EPA. The initial step for communities to request a site-specific Brownfield Assessment begins with a Targeted Brownfield Application. Brownfields Assessments include a record review of historic land use and the collection of soil and groundwater samples to determine the level and probable extent of contamination. The data are compiled into a report for the community, after which local governments typically enroll the site into the Illinois EPA’s SRP to address contamination present on-site above site specific remediation objectives. Once the exposure risk to contamination present on site has been minimized to acceptable levels, the property may be issued a No Further Remediation (NFR) Letter from the Illinois EPA. Targeted Brownfield Assessments at Mary’s Restaurant and Pullman Car Manufacturing highlight investigations completed by the Office of Site Evaluation.
Environmental investigations can be very resource-intensive. Specialized equipment utilized by OSE can reduce the cost and time required to evaluate sites that may pose a threat to human health and the environment.
The Office of Site Evaluation coordinates Time-Critical Removal Actions with U.S. EPA Region 5. Coordination activities include: drafting formal requests for a removal action to U. S. EPA; providing U.S. EPA with Applicable and Relevant or Appropriate Requirement (ARAR’s) prior to removal initiation; assisting the U.S. EPA On-Scene Coordinator with field activities; and collecting site information throughout the removal process. Federal removal actions are authorized whenever there is a release of a hazardous substance that presents an imminent and substantial danger to public health or the environment.
The Office of Site Evaluation conducts investigations in coordination with other programs or governmental entities when specialized assessment may be necessary. Examples of investigations conducted by the Office of Site Evaluation for special projects include: Wide-spread groundwater contamination investigations; buried drum or tank investigations at unregulated facilities; and non-point release investigations to municipal sewer structures or drain tile systems.