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Southeast Rockford Ground Water Contamination Site

Site Information
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Contact Information

Community Involvement Coordinator
Susan Pastor (pastor.susan@epa.gov)
312-353-1325 or 800-621-8431, ext. 31325

Remedial Project Manager
Tim Drexler
312-353-4367 or 800-621-8431, ext. 34367

Assistant Regional Counsel
Tom Turner

Illinois EPA Community Relations Coordinator
Jay Timm

Illinois EPA Project Manager
Brian Conrath


(where to view written records)

Rockford Public Library
215 N. Wyman St.


This Superfund site consists of an approximately 7.5-square-mile area in southeastern portion of the city of Rockford. Ground water investigations performed by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency between 1981 and 1988 showed that many private and municipal wells were contaminated at levels higher than federal health standards. Further investigations determined that the contaminants were used by local industries and were released into the environment from storage tanks and improper disposal practices.

In 1989, residents with high ground water contamination in their drinking water wells were given bottled water by the United States Environmental Protection Agency as a temporary measure and the site was added to EPA's National Priorities List. In order to provide residents with a permanent supply of uncontaminated drinking water, EPA hooked up 547 homes to Rockford's municipal water system in 1991.

As the result of a cooperative agreement with the State of Illinois, the Illinois EPA is the lead agency for the cleanup of three sources of the ground water contamination in southeast Rockford:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is the lead agency for the one source of ground water contamination, Area 9/10.

Most of Area 9/10 is located on the property of the Hamilton Sunstrand Plant near the corner of Eleventh Street and Harrison Avenue. Historically, Area 9/10 has been used for industrial activity since about 1926 when the Rockford Milling Machine and Rockford Tool companies merged to become the Sundstrand Machine Tool Company.

Site Updates | Fact Sheets | Technical Documents | Legal Documents | Five-Year Reviews

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Site Updates

June 2015

During 2014, EPA contractors drilled 48 deep borings along side streets in southeast Rockford – south of 21st Avenue, north of Sandy Hollow Road, east of South Alpine Road and west of the Rock River. All drillings were done in city rights-of-way.  Soil vapor samples were collected to find out if they pose a possible risk to residents. The results will be part of a document called a Technical Memorandum which will be available this summer. The results show that additional study is needed so shallower soil borings and more sampling of the deep borings are planned for later this summer and winter.

EPA has determined that the municipal water provided to homes in 1991 is protecting residents’ health and the environment. However, more information needs to be collected regarding the groundwater cleanup.

As a followup to a regular site status review, EPA studied the nearby Rock River to see if wildlife is being harmed by the discharge of contaminated groundwater into the river. The results of that study, called the Pore Water Investigation Technical Memorandum showed no impacts to the river.

EPA completed this review in May 2013. These reviews are required at least every five years where the cleanup is complete but hazardous waste remains managed on-site. These reviews are done to ensure that the cleanup continues to protect people and the environment.
The review evaluated:

The next scheduled review will be in 2018.

Finally, EPA and Illinois EPA (along with the city of Rockford) will continue to evaluate which homes and businesses still use private wells and continue to offer them city water. Both environmental agencies and the city are concerned about the people who previously refused city water hookups because they may be drinking contaminated water. EPA has asked the city to study possible approaches that would notify potential home buyers of the site’s ground water contamination if current property owners continue to decline city water hookups.

When these measures are implemented and the cleanup actions are completed, the site will be considered “protective.

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Five-Year Reviews

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