Residential Investigation and Site-Wide Remedial Investigation
Fact Sheet #7
What is a Remedial Investigation (RI)?
An RI includes:
Finding any chemicals at the site or from the site that may be a threat to human health or the environment.
- Which chemicals are of interest (that may pose a threat)?
- Where are the chemicals? Are they in the soil, surface water or groundwater? Are they on or outside the site?
- How deep and how widespread are the chemicals?
Finding out if the chemicals move in the environment. For example, do the chemicals move through the soil into the groundwater? Do they move with groundwater off the former refinery property?
Gathering information for future risk assess-ments. Certain portions of the project will focus on getting data to see if a human health risk is present. Other areas of the investigation will collect data that will be used to assess the possible effects the site might have on plants and animals.
Which area will be investigated first?
Due to concern about potential exposure of area residents to site-related contaminants, the investigation of residential properties will happen first under a separate agreement between Texaco and U.S. EPA and Illinois EPA.
As a result of a survey regarding environmental soil sampling that U.S. EPA and Illinois EPA sent to residents who live near the refinery, Texaco plans to investigate more than 200 residences. Nearly 140 of these are in the City, north and northwest of the refinery. The city properties will be investigated during April. The first step of the investigation is to perform interviews and visual inspections of the properties (to identify potential waste material). Properties located in the county, farther from the site, will be evaluated during the RI for the whole site, which begins at the same time as the residential investigation, but will take much longer to complete.
What samples will be taken?
During the first part of the residential investigaion, surface and subsurface soil samples will be taken at 70 residences (Zone A) within city limits using hand augers and a machine called a geoprobe. At other locations (Zone B), only the visual inspection and surface soil sampling will occur. (See map)
Based on responses to surveys and other information, samples to be taken at the residential properties farther away (in the county) may be different in nature and may focus more on groundwater or stained soils.
Who will conduct the work in the residential area?
Work will be conducted by SECOR, an environ- mental consultant to Texaco. Additionally, Tetra Tech, a consultant for U.S. EPA and Illinois EPA, will split soil samples for analysis.
When will the residential area sampling occur?
The residential soil sampling will be conducted as soon as SECOR has an approved work plan in place and can mobilize its field staff. Texaco has already obtained access agreements for most of the properties to be sampled. U.S. EPA and Illinois EPA expect that the work plan could be approved within the next few weeks.
Will residents in the areas to be sampled be exposed to any hazardous levels of contaminants?
No. The sampling methods to be used (hand auger and geoprobe) open a small tube-like opening into the soil. Very little soil is displaced and is not likely to become airborne. Once a sample is collected, the soils (or clean fill material) will be placed back into the hole.
What are the boundaries of the Superfund Site?
The Superfund Site includes all of the refinery properties, including the Indian Acres Disposal Area (northeast of the refinery), as well as part of the City's Wastewater Treatment Plant property, the tank farms and any other areas where refinery-related wastes have come to be placed.
What is the time schedule for the RI?
The first part of the larger Remedial Investigation, which involves the Indian Acres Disposal Area, the Land Treatment Area (west of Route 1), and the Lime Sludge Area (south of the refinery), will occur soon after the residential investigation. The Indian Acres area is a highly contaminated area that needs clean up early in the Superfund process, since contaminants in that area may contact groundwater and/or surface water that flow toward the river.
Other areas of the refinery will be looked at later in the RI. We do not yet have a schedule for the investigation of those areas.
When will all the above-ground structures be removed?
Removal work for the above-ground structures is scheduled to be complete within the next two years.
Can sampling for the RI be conducted during the removal of the below-ground structures?
Some sampling of site soils and groundwater may be conducted in certain areas during the removal work. The RI cannot be completed, however, until all the below-ground structures are removed.
How long will it take to clean up the site?
Because there are many kinds of refinery-related wastes, different remedies may be used for different areas of contamination. However, until the data from the environmental sampling are available, it is too soon to speculate on what will be found, how it can be cleaned up and, consequently, how long that cleanup might take.
As data become available from the RI sampling, U.S. EPA and Illinois EPA will make information available to local residents about the kinds of contamination that was found. Later, there will be a public meeting to discuss proposed cleanup plans for the site.
Citizens Advisory Group
A Citizens Advisory Group (CAG) is a group of community members who are concerned about a Superfund site, such as the one in Lawrenceville. CAGs serve as a way to encourage interaction among interested members of an affected community, to exchange facts and information, and to express individual views while attempting to provide consensus recommendations from the CAG to U.S. EPA and Illinois EPA. CAGs are important tools for enhancing community involvement in the Superfund process. A CAG should serve as a public forum for representatives of diverse community interests to present and discuss their needs and concerns related to the Superfund decision-making process with appropriate federal, state and local governments.
While U.S. EPA and Illinois EPA may be involved in the early stages of helping local citizens form a CAG, neither regulatory agency is a voting member of the CAG. The group should be made up of citizens (at least half) who live near the site or are concerned about being affected by the site, and other represen- tatives of the community, including: medical professionals, representatives of minority and low income groups, environmental or public interest groups members, local (city and county) governments, represenatives of local labor, facility owners and members of the local business community. If you are interested in forming a CAG for this site, please contact Carol Fuller, Illinois EPA 217/524-8807 or Derrick Kimbrough, U.S. EPA, Region 5, 800/621-8431 for more information.
Technical Assistance Grants
Citizen groups desiring technical assistance in interpreting data from this investigation may be eligible for a technical assistance grant (TAG). The TAG is a U.S. EPA program which provides up to $50,000 per site to community groups to hire consultants to interpret environmental data generated during a Superfund investigation. Twenty percent of the total funding amount must be provided by the group. These funds may be paid in cash and/or by contributing in-kind services. TAGs cannot be used to duplicate field or lab work or to underwrite legal actions. Their purpose is to give the public a better understanding of site-related documents and activities.
Municipalities, other governmental agencies, political subdivisions, potentially responsible parties, academic institutions, and headquarters of public interest groups are not eligible to receive TAGs. Further information about TAGs is available by contacting Susan Pastor, TAG Coordinator, U.S. EPA, Office of Public Affairs, 77 West Jackson Blvd., P-19J, Chicago, Illinois 60604; phone 800/621-8431.
For Additional Information
Community Relations Coord.
1021 N. Grand Ave. E.
Springfield, Illinois 62794-9276
217/524-8807 fax 785-7725
Community Involvement Coord.
U.S. EPA, Region 5
77 W. Jackson Blvd., P-19J
Chicago, Illinois 60604-3590
312/886-9749 fax 353-1155
Telephone number for the hearing-impaired: 866-273-5488.