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Hegeler Zinc Placed on Official Superfund List

May 2005

Hegeler Zinc
Hegeler, Illinois

U. S. Environmental Protection Agency has placed Hegeler Zinc on the National Priorities List (NPL).This listing includes the nation's most serious uncontrolled or abandoned sites in the country. As a result, the site now qualifies for Superfund status and federal funding under the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA).

Although Illinois EPA has been investigating the site in the past, it is now under the responsibility of EPA. EPA will do more tests and studies to determine the extent and concentration of the contamination to evaluate possible health and environmental risks. EPA will come up with a list of possible cleanup options, if needed. EPA will then present these possible solutions to the community and solicit people's comments. This input will be considered in making a decision on the best cleanup method. The site will then be cleaned up and monitored over time to make sure the cleanup is working. The public will be kept informed through various communication methods such as mailings and public meetings. Comments and questions are always welcome too. See the box for contact information.

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Hegeler history

This 100-acre site was a zinc smelting facility from 1906 until about 1954. It is located west of the village of Hegeler, which is south of Danville. It is in a rural area, bordered by farmland on the west and the north. Hegeler Zinc produced various grades of zinc slab and rolled zinc products as well as sulfuric acid. The smelting operation resulted in large amounts of slag (through a burning process), which was stored in piles on the site. The slag material contains unburned residues and metals such as lead, arsenic and zinc.

Illinois EPA collected on-site soil, waste (slag), sediment (mud), and ground water samples. Ground water is an underground supply of fresh water. The Illinois agency also did off-site sampling that included residential soil and sediment samples. Following the investigation and based on sampling results, Illinois EPA requested that EPA install a 6-foot-tall chain link fence around the site to prevent trespassers from coming in contact with the contaminated soil and waste material.

Illinois EPA nominated the site to the National Priorities List in 2004. This April, Hegeler Zinc officially became a NPL site when it was listed in the Federal Register.

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Questions and answers

What are the main chemicals of concern on the site?
Although the primary contaminants found in the soil are arsenic, lead and zinc, other metals were found in elevated levels in ground water tested on the site. These metals include lead, cadmium, beryllium, manganese, iron, nickel, thallium, and zinc.

What does the federal law (CERCLA) allow to be done on the site?
CERCLA authorizes the federal government to respond directly to releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances that may endanger public health or the environment. It also enables EPA to take legal action to force parties responsible for causing the contamination to clean up those sites or reimburse the Superfund for cleanup costs. If those responsible for site contamination cannot be found or are unwilling to clean up a site, EPA may clean up the area with federal dollars.

What will happen if parts of the site pose an immediate health hazard?
In the case of an imminent threat to public health or the environment, EPA may conduct what's called an emergency removal action (or time-critical removal) at the site through Superfund. Although the Hegeler Zinc site was found not to be a health hazard, the site was fenced using emergency response funds. This was done to keep children off the property and lower any possible chances of lead exposure.

Health effects information
A health consultation was done for the site in March 2003. This report found the Hegeler Zinc site poses no apparent public health hazard.

Results can be found on the Internet at: www.atsdr.cdc.gov. Select search and type "Hegeler."

An "exposure health assessment" with more detailed information will be released in fall 2005

Questions about health effects can be directed to:

Cary Ware cware@idph.state.il.us
Environmental Health Specialist
Illinois Department of Public Health
2125 S. First St.
Champaign, IL 61820-5949
(217) 278-5900

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Contact information
Questions concerning the Hegeler Zinc site or the Superfund process should be directed to:

Timothy Drexler drexler.timothy@epa.gov
Remedial Project Manager
EPA Region 5
77 W. Jackson Blvd. (SRF-5J)
Chicago, IL 60604
(312) 353-4367 or (800) 621-8431
weekdays 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Yolanda Bouchee bouchee.yolanda@epa.gov
Community Involvement Coordinator
EPA Region 5
77 W. Jackson Blvd. (P-19J)
Chicago, IL 60604
(312) 353-3209 or (800) 621-8431
weekdays 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Doyle Wilson
Illinois EPA Project Manager
P.O. Box 19275 (mail code 24)
Springfield, IL 62794-9276
(217) 782-7592

Carol Fuller
Office of Community Relations
Illinois EPA
P.O. Box 19275 (mail code 5)
Springfield, IL 62794-9276
(217) 524-8807

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