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Old American Zinc Plant

Site Information
Contact Information

Community Involvement Coordinator
Janet Pope (pope.janet@epa.gov)
312-353-0628 or 800-621-8431, ext.30628

Remedial Project Manager
Sheila Desai (desai.sheila@epa.gov)
312-353-4150 or 800-621-8431, ext. 34150

Tom Turner (turner.thomas@epa.gov)
312-886-6613 or 800-621-8431, ext. 66613


(where to view written records)

Fairmont City Village Hall
2601 N. 41st St.

Washington Park Public Library
5103 Bunkum Road #2


The Old American Zinc Plant Site is a 132-acre inactive industrial facility in Fairmont City, Illinois, located along Kingshighway, just north of East St. Louis. Areas near the site are industrial and residential. Except for a few large slag piles, a soil stockpile, and a creek; most of the on-site property is flat. Crushed limestone has been placed over the slag (a waste product of smelting furnaces previously operating on-site) in many locations to construct roadways and parking areas. Sparse vegetation over most of the property consists mainly of moss patches, but wetland plants grow along the course of a creek and in a poorly drained, low lying area in the southeast corner of the property.

From 1913 until 1967, American Zinc operated a zinc smelter facility on the site. In 1967, American Zinc moved to Sauget, Illinois. At this time, all structures were either moved, or torn down and disposed of off-site. The site remained vacant until XTRA Intermodal, Inc. leased it in 1976 from American Zinc to use the site for a truck semi-trailer leasing and storage operation. XTRA then purchased the site property in 1979. In 2003, the company discontinued its operations, and the site is currently vacant. In early 2007, XTRA planned to demolish its remaining buildings on the site and remove the debris.

In 1994, U.S. EPA tasked the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IL EPA) to conduct an Integrated Site Assessment (ISA). Groundwater migration was not thought to be a concern because most drinking water wells are located more than three miles from the contamination and are upgradient. Site surface water flows through small drainageways into a large wetland area. No contaminant airborne release was observed during the ISA, although residents complained of particulates blowing off-site. IL EPA took numerous soil samples from residential and other surrounding areas, and analyzed the samples. Many of these samples showed arsenic, cadmium, lead, and zinc at elevated levels. IL EPA also took waste samples on-site and sediment samples on and near the site. The on-site waste samples indicated methylene-chloride, semi-volatile, inorganic, and pesticide contamination. Sediment samples from creeks and wetlands indicated mostly inorganic contamination.

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Site Updates

November 2013

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency selected the remedy for the Old American Zinc Superfund Site from among several alternatives.  The Selected Remedy for the Old American Zinc Site is Alternative 4A. The remedy consists of:

1) excavation of vitrified slag, redistributed ground slag, and affected soils and sediments inside the Facility Area, then consolidation into a 35-acre consolidation area on the Facility Area;
2) removal of affected soils and sediments outside the Facility Area to be managed with consolidated media inside the 35-acre consolidation area;
3) capping the consolidated affected media with a 24-inch, low permeability, compacted soil barrier layer with a hydraulic conductivity no greater than 1x10-7  and a 12-inch vegetated layer cover system;
4) use of institutional controls;
5) drainage controls on manmade ditches draining the Facility Area;
6) storm water and groundwater monitoring. 

EPA is in the process of negotiating the Administrative Order on Consent for Remedial Design with Potentially Responsible Party Blue Tee and Potentially Responsible Party General Service Administration and expects it to be finalized soon.

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