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HEALTH CONSULTATION

DOUBLE A METALS
CHICAGO, COOK COUNTY, ILLINOIS


BACKGROUND

The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) requested that the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) review data for the Double A Metals site and provide recommendations to protect public health. The Double A Metals site is an inactive aluminum dross recycling facility. Aluminum was shipped to the site from mills, die casters, and smelters in the Midwest. The aluminum was recovered from the dross by heating it in a furnace. Then it was cast into 400 and 1,000 pound ingots. The main byproduct, aluminum oxide, was collected and bagged in the bag house on the north end of the site. The facility began its operations in 1964. Until 1989, the facility only processed the dross and then shipped it off site for the actual aluminum recovery. In 1989, an industrial furnace and a dust collection system was installed and aluminum recovery operations began on site. The facility continued to recycle aluminum until 1993, when the site was abandoned.

The site is at 3321 S. Pulaski Road in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois (Attachment 1). The surrounding area is industrial, commercial, and residential. The site is bordered to the west by Pulaski Avenue, to the north by a rail line, to the south by a Commonwealth Edison power plant, and to the east by a City of Chicago recycling center. The nearest residence is approximately 300 feet north of the site beyond the rail line.

The site is approximately four acres and contains two main buildings, a large front yard with a loading dock, and a back yard area (Attachment 2). The west building is made of brick and contains four small rooms, one large room, an office area, and a partially closed area. The east building is made of metal and glass and contains one large room and a large industrial furnace. Four large electrical transformers (prior to their removal) and the bag house are in the back yard. The site is not secured and is encircled by a deteriorating fence that has several holes in it.

In December 1990 and April 1991, Gabriel Laboratories conducted a level I and II Environmental Property Survey (EPS). For the level II EPS, subsurface soil boring samples and a wipe sample were collected.

USEPA began a site removal assessment on October 7, 1996. Approximately 3,000 cubic yards of dust and slag in waste piles; more than 100 drums of waste oils, solvents, and unknown materials; and approximately 15 propane gas cylinders were scattered throughout the site. The loading dock area was flooded with water. The waste piles varied in consistency and color. Some piles consisted of a brown material with rusted metal artifacts, while others were black with oxidized blue and white granules. In the back yard, four large electrical transformers were dismounted and stripped, and transformer oil had been dumped onto the soil. A large industrial furnace that contained asbestos-like insulation was in the metal building. USEPA collected samples from the drums, waste piles, surface soil, insulation, and surface water.

In March 1997, USEPA conducted off-site sampling. Surface soil samples were collected from nearby commercial and residential areas.

On April 4, 1997, IDPH staff visited the site. A deteriorating fence encircled the site. The two buildings on-site were in poor structural condition. Part of the interior wall between the two buildings collapsed during site remediation. The area was marked with caution tape. Vandalism, including broken windows and building graffiti, was apparent on site. Removal activities were taking place during the visit. The cylinders of propane gas, electrical transformers, and debris had been removed. Approximately eight drums and some waste piles remained on-site. Removal was expected to be complete by April 18, 1997. (Removal activities are complete.) A predominantly Latino community, consisting of approximately 100,000 people, resides across the rail line immediately north of the site. Three elementary schools and a playground are within five blocks north of the site. The community is supplied with drinking water from the city of Chicago.


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