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The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) requested that the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) conduct a health consultation for the Essex Group site in Du Quoin, Illinois (Attachment 1). The purpose of this health consultation is to assess any known or potential adverse human health effects from exposure to site contaminants. This site is a former brownfields property, currently undergoing redevelopment.

The Essex Group site is a manufacturing facility on approximately 2 acres on the corner of South Line Street and Jackson Avenue in Du Quoin, Perry County, Illinois (Attachment 2). The site is in a predominantly residential area. A nursing home facility is next to the southwestern corner of the site. Residential homes are both south and east of the site. The Du Quoin State Fairground property is also south of the site. Railroad tracks border the site on the north, and the Du Quoin High School campus is beyond the tracks. Public water is supplied to the surrounding area, and there are no private wells known to be in use.

The site consists of two main buildings that have housed several companies over the years. A portion of the site is fenced. IEPA regulated most of the companies under the authority of the Resource, Conservation, and Recovery Act (RCRA). IEPA files date from 1974 when the Essex Group owned the facility and manufactured barbecue grills. Turco/Charmglow Company purchased the facility in 1980 and added the manufacture of swing and gym sets. IEPA RCRA records showed solvents generated by the manufacturing processes included paint cleaners, petroleum hydrocarbons, paint, and caustic strippers.

In 1988, Turco sold part of the facility to the Blazon Flexible Flyer Company, which manufactured snow sleds. The facility was used as a distribution warehouse only [1]. In 1993, all manufacturing and distribution processes ceased at the facility. The site remained unoccupied until February 1998.

In November 1995, IEPA responded to a complaint that a red-colored liquid was seen flowing into a lake east of the Essex Group site. The complainant believed the red-colored material was originating from the Essex site. The site was unoccupied at that time and the Flexible Flyer Company had been the most recent occupant. IEPA collected a surface water sample from the lake. No contaminants above comparison values were identified.

In October 1997, under the authority of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), IEPA conducted a Site Team Evaluation Prioritization (STEP) of the site. The inspection included the collection of eight on-site surface soil samples, one off-site (background) surface soil sample, two on-site sediment samples, and two off-site sediment samples. The off-site sediment samples were collected from the lakes east and south of the site. The on-site sediment samples were collected from a storm water drainage ditch (Attachment 3). IEPA did not conduct groundwater monitoring.

In November 1997, IDPH staff visited the site. The facility was unoccupied at that time. A gated fence surrounded most of the main building and surrounding grounds.

In February 1998, GSI Incorporated purchased the facility. GSI Incorporated manufactures grain bins and augers. The company, which is not yet in production at this location, has approximately 150 employees. When full production begins, they will employ approximately 400 persons. Prestige Trailers, a boat trailer manufacturer, occupies a small building in the northwest corner of the property. This company has less than 50 employees.

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