Fact Sheet #14
The former Indian Refining Company/Texaco Refinery facility operated as an active petroleum refinery from the early 1900s until the mid-1990s, immediately southeast of Lawrenceville. A lube oil refinery was located on what is known as Indian Acres on the northeastern portion of the property, near the current Lawrenceville Wastewater Treatment Plant. The area was used for waste disposal of lube oil filter clay sludge, acid sludge, and other wastes. A variety of refinery process wastes were found in other areas of the site. The site was investigated by the Illinois EPA during the 1990s and was named to the National Priorities List of Superfund sites in 2000.
The Remedial Investigation (RI) for the site has recently been completed, and the final reports received and approved by Illinois EPA. Information in the RI from extensive environmental sampling identifies the chemicals of concern on the site and describes their known extent. The Baseline Human Health Risk Assessment, which is part of the RI, describes potential risk to residents, trespassers or site workers from contact with site contaminants. Similarly, the Ecological Risk assessment describes the potential risk to wildlife in the area.
Work conducted for the RI from 2002 through 2007 included extensive environmental sampling:
- Soils both on-site and off-site
- Embarras River sediments and surface water
- Groundwater both on-site and off-site
Contaminants commonly found on former refinery sites from the distilled portions of the crude oil were also found at this site, including:
organic compounds – various products (gasoline, diesel, oils) and their related chemicals and
inorganic compounds – metals from plant processes, additives for fuels, mercury switches, catalysts, batteries, paint and acids.
There will be a
Public Availability Session for the public to learn about the Remedial Investigation Report at 1214 State Street, Lawrenceville on Sept. 17th, 2008 at 4:00 p.m.
Now that the Remedial Investigation (RI) is complete, have all the site contaminants been fully defined?
Yes. With the exception of specific areas, Illinois EPA is confident that the RI work fully defines the nature and extent of the siterelated contaminants, per Superfund regulations.
Some areas were intentionally left partially characterized, since Illinois EPA and Chevron agreed that a removal action is necessary to effectively deal with gross contamination (e.g., the Indian Acres disposal area).
Please describe the areas where certain types of contamination have been found.
In the northeast disposal area near the river (Indian Acres) and the former Fabrication Shop area there is tarry, acidic waste that includes the heavier ends of crude such as asphaltic materials, spent catalyst, filter cake and other process wastes. Chemical compounds in the waste include polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and some volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
PAHs and VOCs are chemicals commonly found in oil-derived products. VOCs tend to vaporize into the air when they are near the surface of the ground and some may dissolve into groundwater, while PAHs can remain incorporated in soils for a long time without moving much in the environment.
There is product floating on and dissolved in the groundwater from the lighter ends of oil production – light fuels (gasoline and diesel); the benzene dissolved in groundwater drives the cleanup and risk assessment due to its toxicity as a cancer agent. Metals (inorganics) – There is a large area – the Land Treatment Unit on the west side of Route 1 – that has significant metals contamination. There are some additional hot spots around the site of lead, mercury, and nickel contamination.
Do any of the contaminants extend off-site?
Yes. While no surface contamination in soils has been found offsite, there is product (gasoline and diesel) floating on top of and dissolved in the groundwater that moves off-site on the southeast part of the site. The contamination is being continually monitored and will have to be dealt with in the final remedy for the site.
Can any of the contamination be cleaned up now?
Yes. More than 300 miles of pipes were used in the past for on-site transport of crude oil and processed end products. Removal of part of that piping in the tank farm areas began in April 2008 as part of an Engineering Evaluation/Cost Assessment (EE/CA). This is a process by which parts of the Superfund site may undergo a quicker removal process than the final site-wide remedy. The removal involves a step-wise process of locating, evaluating, pinching off and removing many miles of piping in the tank farm areas.
Similarly, the Indian Acres disposal area may be handled through an EE/CA. There will be a public comment period on this before it is approved.
No remedies have been decided at this time for the larger site. First, a Feasibility Study will be conducted to evaluate appropriate cleanup strategies. (This process is underway now.) Then, there will be a public comment period on the proposed cleanup options.
What other cleanup work has occurred on the site recently?
The remaining four tanks in Tank Farm F on the west side of the site have been removed and scrapped, and the contaminated soils from that area have been removed and properly disposed.
What happens if there are releases of contamination during pipe removal?
Any spill must be immediately cleaned up. Additionally, any contaminated soils excavated during the pipe removal must be treated and properly disposed.
What is the time-frame for the Feasibility Study, and when will we see the final remedy?
The Feasibility Study is already under way. The entire study should take about one year. Illinois EPA expects to receive the Feasibility Study report sometime during the fall of 2009.
Is there any concern for off-site exposure of residents through blowing dusts or to children playing in the Indian Creek?
As part of the work plan for the remedy, Chevron will be required to conduct periodic monitoring of the air at the site fence line to make sure that site-related contaminants do not blow off site in dusts during the site work.
The Human Health Risk Assessment for the site evaluated the scenario of children that might play in the creek, and there does not appear to be a potential health risk associated with that potential exposure route.
Who is doing the work?
Chevron is contracting with several environmental firms to complete the piping removal. Stantec Consulting Corporation oversees the environmental consulting work. Stantec can be reached at (248) 489- 5900. Illinois EPA has oversight for the entire project.
How long do you anticipate the pipe removal will take?
Chevron anticipates that it will take approximately two years to complete the current piping removal in the western tank farm areas. There will still be many additional miles of pipes to remove in the main process areas and the remaining tank farms A, B and C during the remedy phase. Pipe removal in the process areas is complicated by concrete foundations, blacktop and other obstructions. There is still an option to conduct the remaining piping removal as a separate EE/CA, just like the current removal work.
For more information, please contact:
Carol L. Fuller
Community Relations Coord.
Office of Community Relations
Bureau of Land,
National Priorities Unit
Illinois Dept. of Public Health
Interim Regional Manager
The Remedial Investigation Report is available in hard copy for review at the Public Information Repository at the Lawrence Public Library, 814 Twelfth Street, Lawrenceville, Illinois