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Congressional District # 07


EPA ID# ILN000510195
Last Updated: March, 2015

Site Description

The Hawthorne Avenue former Manufactured Gas Plant (MGP) Gas Storage site is located in the City of Chicago on the northwest corner of the intersection of Marcey Street and Willow Street in Cook County, Illinois.  The 4.1-acre site is bounded on the northwest by Wisconsin Street (formerly Clay Street), on the southwest by Kingsbury Avenue (formerly Hawthorne Avenue, now a railroad right-of-way), on the southeast by Willow Street, and on the northeast by Marcey Street.  This property is occupied by three small buildings that house the operations of the Hawthorne Regulator Station, a natural gas regulating station with intermittent maintenance activities.  The northwestern portion of the site is currently owned by Commonwealth Edison and used as a transformer station and equipment storage yard. The southeastern portion of the site is currently owned by Marcey Properties, LLC (Marcey) and used for retail purposes.

The Marcey property includes approximately 1.6 acres of land that was formerly part of the Willow Street Station Former MGP site. Because of their common current ownership, the portion of the Willow Street Station former MGP site located east of the railroad is addressed as part of the Hawthorne Avenue MGP site. The North Branch of the Chicago River is approximately 375 feet west of the site.  The site is zoned for manufacturing and there are no residential properties in the immediate vicinity.  Land use in the area surrounding the site is primarily industrial and commercial.

The Ogden Gas Company constructed the Hawthorne Avenue Gas Storage Facility in 1905 for use as a manufactured gas distribution facility. The facility included a water-sealed 5 million cubic foot gas holder located at the corner of Wisconsin and Marcey, as well as a compression tank and a number of buildings (shop, boiler house, exhauster house, garage, chimney and pipe shed).  Peoples Gas leased the property from Ogden Gas in 1907, gained control of portions of the company in 1913, and acquired the Ogden Gas Company’s remaining assets when Ogden Gas dissolved in 1950.  The Hawthorne Avenue gas holder was retired in 1958 and dismantled the following year.  Peoples Gas began selling portions of the former Gas Storage Facility property in 1967. The Willow Street Station portion of the site was occupied by a 2.5 million cubic foot gas holder from about 1911 to 1950.

The Hawthorne Avenue MGP site is being addressed under EPA's Superfund Alternative (SA) site program.

Site Responsibility

The Hawthorne Avenue MGP site is being addressed by potentially responsible party (PRP) actions under state and federal oversight.

Threats and Contaminants

Staining and odors were reported in soil borings advanced near and inside the footprint of the former gas holder at depths of 7 to 10 feet below ground surface.  Metals, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) [including naphthalene, benzo(a)pyrene, benzo(a)anthracene, benzo(a)fluoranthene, and dibenzo(a,h)anthracene] were detected in soil samples collected during a 2002 site investigation. 

Sediment samples were collected from a location in the North Branch of the Chicago River approximately 1,500 feet downstream from the site in 2000 as part of an EPA sediment study.  These samples contained high levels of PAHs, PCBs, oil and grease, and metals; the concentrations of these substances generally increased with depth. Many of the reported concentrations of total and individual PAHs, PCBs, and metals are at levels the may cause toxicity to organisms that live in the sediment (benthic invertebrates). 


Cleanup Progress

In 2005, EPA was approached by Wisconsin Public Service Corp. (WPSC) with a request to investigate and clean up seven former MGP sites in Wisconsin under EPA’s Superfund Alternative site (SA) program.  The SA program takes sites that might otherwise be eligible for the National Priorities List (NPL), but which will be investigated and cleaned up by a cooperative PRP without formally listing the site on the NPL.  After WPSC merged with Peoples Energy to form Integrys Energy Group (Integrys), EPA was approached by Integrys in 2007 to address thirteen former MGP sites in Illinois (two in Waukegan and eleven in Chicago) under the SA program.  Hawthorne Avenue Station is one of the thirteen Illinois MGP sites.

In 2007, EPA and Integrys entered into an Administrative Order on Consent (AOC) for Remedial Investigations and Feasibility Studies at the two Waukegan sites and an AOC for Engineering Evaluations and Cost Analyses (EE/CAs) at the eleven Chicago sites. Since all twenty MGP sites have similar conditions and contaminants, and Integrys is a PRP for each, the agreements allow a streamlined approach to be taken for site investigation and remedy development. Some benefits of the agreement include the use of multi-site documents, a mechanism to review the adequacy of past work, and scheduling flexibility to allow progress on the "worst problems first."  By the end of 2008, all of the mult-site documents had been approved, and site-specific work had begun on several of the sites.  On October 31, 2008 EPA and Integrys entered into an AOC which converted the EE/CA AOC for the eleven Chicago former MGP sites to an RI/FS AOC.

To more effectively manage the eleven Chicago sites, the RI/FS AOC organizes them into four sites: the North Shore Avenue Site, the North Branch Site, the South Branch Site. and the Crawford Site.  Both the North Branch Site and the South Branch Site have several operable units. The North Branch Site is comprised of the Division Street Station Operable Unit (OU), the North Station OU, and the Willow Street/Hawthorn Avenue Station OU.  The North Shore Avenue Station Site is a single site.  The South Branch Site is comprised of the 22nd Street Station Upland OU, the Hough Place Station Upland OU, the Pitney Court Station Upland OU, the South Station Upland OU, the Throop Station Upland OU, and the South Branch River OU.

Investigations and Remediation Previously Performed

Site investigation activities were performed on the Hawthorne Regulator parcel in 2002, and cleanup work was performed in 2003 and 2005 under the State of Illinois Site Remediation Program.  The soil cleanup goal under that program was to meet industrial/commercial use standards.  Remediation of this parcel involved excavation of all surface soils (0-3 feet bgs) at the site, excavation of subsurface soil to depths of up to 8 feet bgs in two small areas, and installation and operation of a soil vapor extraction system.  Impacted materials were identified visually during post-remediation soil sampling on this parcel.  During excavation, a portion of the 5 million cubic foot gas holder wall was encountered extending out from the northwestern boundary of the site.  An engineered barrier was installed to cover the exposed portion of the gas holder.  Conditions on the northwestern parcel, where the majority of the 5 million cubic foot gas holder is located, have not yet been investigated.  Part of the southeastern parcel was remediated in 2003 in conjunction with remediation activities on the former Willow Street Station site.  This remediation involved excavation of soils to a maximum depth of 12 feet bgs and off-site disposal of approximately 2,560 tons of impacted material.  Residual tar-impacted materials were left in place at depths from 6 to 12 feet bgs and a plastic liner was installed before backfilling with flowable fill to prevent migration of tar into the remediated area. 

RI field work was generally completed in 2013, with additional rounds (4) of groundwater sampling soil vapor sampling (2) performed by the end of 2014.  In addition, sediment sampling near the site was performed in October 2013.  EPA is planning that a draft RI report will be submitted for review by December 2015. 


Remedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA
Rosauro Del Rosario (delrosario.rosauro@epa.gov)
(312) 886-6195



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