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DePue CAG hears update on Superfund site

DEPUE – The DePue Citizens Group held a meeting with community members and representatives from Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Wednesday evening to hear updates on the cleanup process of DePue’s Superfund Site.

IEPA project manager Charlene Falco gave an update on each operable unit (OU) within the village’s site, which is broken into five operable units.

Operable Unit 1: South Ditch

The South Ditch is a contaminated drainage canal that feeds into Lake DePue.

Falco said it’s been decided that whatever remedial auction done on Lake DePue will also be done on the south ditch.

“It’s basically been rolled into OU5. It won’t be missed; it’s just part of that OU now,” she confirmed.

Operable Unit 2: Phosphogypsum Stack

Falco reported the DePue Group –  which is an entity made up of Viacom International Incorporated/CBS and Exxon Mobil – are working on addition investigation of the groundwater associated with the stack.

Falco said the group had submitted a hydrological report to the IEPA. Several comments have been sent between the IEPA and the group on the results of the report. According to Falco, the IEPA still has three issues with the report, which may be resolved this spring or summer when the DePue Group begins additional field work. The work consists of installing additional wells into the ground to better investigated groundwater flow from the stack.

Operable Unit 3: The former New Jersey Zinc plant site

Falco said IEPA is reviewing data on field work the DePue Group submitted.

She also reported the IEPA recently issued documentation to Exxon Mobil to verify what was done to an underground storage tank on the plant site, which Exxon Mobil assured they’d exposed of in the mid ‘90s.

Operable Unit 4: Off-site soils

OU 4 consists of village properties and open spaces where contamination may be located throughout.

Falco explained the traditional way of cleaning up residential properties is the responsible parties come to the village and investigate all properties where a property owner had signed an access agreement. Falco said after they take data, they evaluated it for two years before determining a plan to cleanup the site.

“We are trying to shorten that process from a couple years to a couple weeks,” said Falco.

The IEPA is able to do this by selecting remedial objectives beforehand.

“Unfortunately, we are having disagreements with the DePue Group on what the objectives should be,” said Falco. “If we can get resolution on these issues, it’s a way to move the cleanup of the village forward more quickly than the conventional traditional route,” she said.

If the IEPA and DePue Group cannot come to an agreement, Falco said there is a “dispute resolution process” route that will be taken.

“It looks like that may be the direction we’re headed,” said Falco. “It may add a little time to the process, but it may get us into a definitive solution.”

Operable Unit 5: Lake DePue

Falco said the IEPA and DePue Group are also unable to reach an agreement on the analysis of the ecological risk assessments.

“The risk assessments will determine what action should be taken at a site, which receptors are most at risk and need to be protected the most, and in certain cases determine a certain area that needs to be addressed,” said.

Falco said the DePue Group is interested in collecting further data that could help remove uncertainty in the report.

“If they do, then I think we will work with them on that,” she said. “I don’t know if there’s any other way to actually resolve the debates we’re having on the lake.”

She said collecting further data will either firm up IEPA’s position or provide other information that will be taken into consideration.

Comment on this story at www.bcrnews.com.

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