Fact Sheet #1
The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (Illinois EPA), in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA), will oversee an immediate removal action near the Indian Acres waste area in Lawrenceville, Illinois beginning in the last week of October. The Indian Refining Company will perform the removal action to protect area residents and animals from contact with a waste that is surfacing in a residential area. The waste is a thick tar-like substance that the Illinois EPA believes to be the same substance that is found in Indian Acres, the old dump site of the local refinery.
The residential area is located north and west of the Indian Acres waste site. There are at least two locations (one along Hickory Street at the corner of Fourth Street and the other one on Fourth Street) where the waste is on the surface of the ground and will need to be removed. Indian Refining Company is working with both the state and federal environmental agencies and local health agencies to accomplish this removal action in a safe manner. The hazardous waste present in the soil will be hauled away to an appropriate location based on its chemical analysis. Both the U.S. EPA and the Illinois EPA will oversee the project to make certain that proper monitoring and safety guidelines are followed.
While a full chemical analysis of this waste has not been completed, the Illinois EPA knows that the waste is very acidic (corrosive) and, therefore, represents a threat to human health and the environment. Both because of the acidity and because of other organic chemical components in the waste, skin irritation or chemical burns could result from contact of this waste with eyes or skin. Additionally, some of the chemical components in this waste are known to cause cancer in animals and are thought to cause cancer in humans.
An oil refinery has been operated at this site since the late 1800's. Waste from various processes at the refinery were dumped for 45 years or more in the wetlands area to the northeast of the former Indian Refinery. This L-shaped area known as Indian Acres is east of where Hickory Street dead ends and continues south to the railroad tracks. Some of the waste in this area originated with a lubricating oil manufacturing process which used sulfuric acid. Consequently, the waste from that process is highly acidic. Due to the corrosive nature of this type of waste, the Illinois EPA placed a Seal Order on the Indian Acres site on June 5, 1996, to restrict unauthorized access to the site. The extent of the waste is not yet known. A preliminary site investigation is currently under way by Illinois EPA to discover the extent of the problem and to gauge the seriousness of any possible hazard posed to human health and the environment. There will be additional fact sheets developed when this assessment process is complete. Additional field work is scheduled for this fall.
For Additional Information
Carol L. Fuller
Office of Community Relations
2200 Churchill Road, #5
Springfield, Illinois 62794-9276
Illinois Dept. of Public Health
2309 W. Main Street
Marion, Illinois 62959