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The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (Illinois EPA) referred the Chemetco site to theIllinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to determine whether the site presents a public healthhazard due to actual exposures to hazardous materials or potential exposure conditions. The site isbeing considered for inclusion in the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, andLiability Act (CERCLA) program, also known as Superfund, which is managed by the U.S.Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA).


Chemetco, a former metal recycling smelter in Hartford, Illinois, developed the site in the late 1960sand started production in the early 1970s. The secondary smelting facility was capable of processingmany types of metal-based wastes. Although the company promoted copper products, lead-basedproducts were likely generated as well. The plant had a history of environmental violations,problems with properly managing the materials used, and with the byproducts created. The plantceased operations in 2001. The company and some former employees were charged withenvironmental and criminal pollution violations.

The Chemetco site is in the American Bottom flood plain near the Mississippi River in MadisonCounty, Illinois (Figure 1). The village of Hartford (population 1,545), approximately 1 mile north ofthe site (Bureau of the Census 2000), was the former mailing address of the site. The nearestresidential area is Mitchell, a small community approximately ½ mile southeast. The site is above anaquifer that is a source of municipal, industrial, and agricultural water for several nearbycommunities including, Edwardsville, Hartford, Roxana, and Wood River.

Main site operations were conducted within a 41-acre area, but Chemetco also owns hundreds ofacres of surrounding farm land. Over the 30 years of plant operations, some of this property wasacquired to settle disputes with nearby farmers. The Mississippi River and two tributaries, theCahokia Canal and Long Lake, are within 1 mile of the site.

Beginning in 1969, Chemetco built three 70-ton gas-fired furnaces (also called converters) whichcould accommodate a variety of raw materials, and later added a fourth converter. Productionbegan in the early 1970s (E&E 1987). Two wells were installed to provide process water to theplant. Pumps were used to draw and divert water to various locations. Until 1985, hot water wasplaced in canals for cooling. When the pumps failed, the adjacent farm fields would flood.

Chemetco produced high-purity copper using an electrolytic acidic refining process. This electrolyticprocess used large amounts of strong acids that would at times reportedly release a visible "acidmist" drifting onto nearby farm fields. The process also required the management of large amountsof acidic waste capable of dissolving heavy metals. Other hazardous liquids used at the site includedhalogenated solvents that may have been used for cleaning machine parts.

Metal-based feedstock was received via rail, highway, or barge from hundreds of sources andlocations. Materials accepted for secondary smelting at Chemetco included electronic equipmentand cables, slag, skims, turnings, grindings, and wastes from foundries, automobiles, buildings andfactories. The incoming materials were unloaded, sorted, and eventually smelted and refined toremove unwanted materials and make new products.

These products included crude metal stocks and alloys, various grades of copper, lead-tin solder,zinc oxide, copper and nickel sulfates, and other inorganic compounds. At one time, zinc oxide wasconverted into zinc sulfate for distribution to the fertilizer industry. Reportedly, some materials weresold for the production of roofing shingles, thermal insulation, and sandblasting.

The material a water scrubber system collected as particulate in the exhaust gases of the rotaryfurnaces was referred to as zinc oxide residues. During operations, Chemetco generated crude zincoxide from two sources: 1) the dry air pollution control equipment, such as baghouses, and 2) thewet scrubber system. Along with zinc, this residue also contains large amounts of lead, cadmium,and copper. The material coats nearly everything in the plant.

The waste streams included solid smelting wastes (slag). According to the company, these materialsconsisted of aluminum oxide, iron oxide, calcium oxide, and silicates (Chemetco 1987). Otherwastes included bag house dust, refractory brick, spent cleaning solvents (includingtrichloroethylene), sulfuric and hydrochloric acids, and other electrolytic fluids. The facility alsomaintained a laboratory to assess the composition and quality of feedstocks and products.Chemicals wastes from laboratory testing also were generated.

In 1986 the company constructed bag-houses to collect dust. It was reported that the company used solid waste materials to fill pits, impoundments, and canals that were built on the site to hold process and wash waters. In some areas on the site, slag was spread up to a thickness of 11 feet, and used to construct facility parking areas and drives. A large parking lot that could accommodate semi-trailer trucks and other large types of equipment–sometimes called the "contractor's parking"–was constructed south of the main operations area.

The company also coordinated the use of solid materials as road material and parking lotselsewhere. A 1985 Illinois EPA memo referred to slag being used to develop the Lewis and ClarkPark located between the river and the federal levee.

In 1989 the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a Cease and Desist Order to the company toremove slag material from wetlands about 1 mile north of the Chemetco facility between the riverand the river levee (Dept of the Army 1989).

Chemetco company literature and statements have often emphasized that the facility recycled mostmaterials and that waste streams were not generated. But the end result of this recycling activitywas piled feedstock residues, smelting and solid residues, and accumulated liquids. Much of thematerial was stored directly on the ground, with little attempt to provide barriers or work practicesto limit exposures.

In the fall of 2001 the company closed the facility, filing for bankruptcy on November 13, 2001. OnDecember 7, 2001, the Illinois EPA Director, due to environmental issues at the site, issued an orderto seal the facility. The order restricts public access to certain portions of the site and prohibits entryby anyone without prior permission (IEPA 2001). Currently, the court-appointed trustee isinvestigating whether any of the solid waste is marketable.

Sampling Activities

Liquid Wastes and Groundwater

Testing of the liquid wastes and groundwater found on the site by the company and by Illinois EPArevealed regular violations of metals and pH parameters in many monitoring well and surface water samples collected in the 1980s (ILPCB 1984). Metals were found at elevated levels; arsenic,chlorides, manganese, sulfates, and total dissolved solids were often measured at levels exceedingany acceptable water quality standards of the time.

Floor wash materials also were stored in impoundments near the building where copper was purifiedusing electrolytic processes. The company filled these impoundments using solid materials fromunknown sources in the early 1980s. Monitoring wells were installed in the underlying shallowaquifer around these areas. According to company statements, some of the highest levels ofchemicals from the groundwater-monitoring network were found near the floor wash impoundment(Chemetco 1987).

In 1983, Madison County staff collected several samples on and around the site. Their reportidentified a ditch located south of Oldenburg Road with blue-green liquid that contained elevatedlevels of several metals (Table 1). County staff also collected treated effluent discharging into theCahokia Canal that included cadmium (0.42-6.5 milligrams/liter [mg/l]), copper (0.15-1.88 mg/l),lead (0.4-2.1 mg/l), nickel (1.5-2.0 mg/l), and zinc (3-180 mg/l), all of which exceeded NationalPollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitted limits.

According to a 1983 Illinois EPA memo, the strong-acid electrolytic bath was believed to have beenreleasing material. Through the years, during many of the sampling events liquids were measuredwith low pH values (acidic) or very high pH values (caustic). The high pH levels may have resultedfrom the company using caustic materials to attempt to neutralize standing acidic surface water.Acidic conditions typically increase the solubility of metals, and allow more mobility of the metalcontaminants.

Monitoring wells were also installed near the filled south ditch (likely electrolytic solutions) and thenorth canals (around the large stacks in the northeast corner of the site). According to the company,monitoring wells were sampled in a scheduled manner. After an assessment of 1984 groundwaterdata, the company installed a subsurface interceptor drainage system (SIDS) on the south side ofOldenberg Road, down-gradient from the former floor wash impoundment. This system pumpedsome groundwater back to the plant.

Monitoring well samples collected in 1985 included boron (5.56 mg/l); chloride (8,740 mg/l); copper(2,272 mg/l); nickel (1,480 mg/l); and zinc (42.1 mg/l). These samples also had low pH values (2-3)and high dissolved solids (8,600-52,224 mg/l). The 1992 analyses of groundwater revealed persistentproblems with concentrations of metals. In April 2001, monitoring well samples from shallow anddeep aquifers again exceeded groundwater standards for boron, cadmium, chloride, lead, andmanganese (IEPA 2001).

Slag and Soil

Table 2 shows the metals detected in slag samples collected from the facility in May 1983 byMadison County investigators.

In 1998, USEPA and Illinois EPA conducted a study of the slag. USEPA sampled the area east ofthe slag pile that receives both water and fine slag materials during runoff events. Surface waterand sediment samples indicated that runoff from the slag pile contains high lead levels and relativelyhigh cadmium concentrations.

Because Chemetco had accepted material from a firm known to have dioxin contamination,USEPA investigated dioxin in 1987. On April 12, 1987, USEPA collected four waste samples andone slag sample for dioxin analysis (E&E 1987). Although the slag sample contained no dioxins, thefour waste samples had detectable levels of all dioxin isomers which were analyzed. The zinc oxideresidue sample from the polishing pits had a dioxin concentration of 3.4 parts per billion (ppb). InAugust 1999, Illinois EPA conducted follow-up sampling and found high levels of dioxin in the zincoxide residue (IEPA 1999b).

Air Sampling

In 1992 USEPA announced that Chemetco was the nation's leading emitter of airborne lead(estimated emission of 78.11 tons). Air samples collected April 1991 to June 1992 repeatedlycontained elevated lead levels. The highest 24-hour lead level was 43.93 micrograms per cubicmeter. A lawsuit was filed for noncompliance with the Clean Air Act, the National Ambient AirQuality Standards (NAAQS) for lead, and state permits (USEPA 2000). A consent decree signedin 2000 required air monitoring, pollution controls, and the payment of a civil penalty. It does notappear that the company developed an air-monitoring plan or analyzed any off-site air samples.Along with lead, other metals were likely emitted and deposited onto surrounding areas.

Fish and Lake Sediments

Chemetco installed an illegal 10-inch pipe to discharge grey sludge wastes into wetlands located atthe northern portion of Long Lake. This is thought to have been installed in the mid-1980s and usedfor about 10 years. The pipe was discovered by Illinois EPA staff in 1996. Sampling of thedischarge area revealed elevated levels of cadmium and lead. The company was later fined $3.8million, put on 5 years probation and ordered to initiate a clean up. Limited clean up occurred on thesite property, but no downstream sediments in Long Lake were remediated.

In the summer of 1999, staff from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and Illinois EPAcollected fish samples from two sections of Long Lake. Buffalo and carp were collected closest tothe site (the northern part of the lake where the illegal pipe discharged) were from the residentialsection of Long Lake. Buffalo and crappie were collected from the southern section throughPontoon Beach. Fillet portions were analyzed for pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs),dioxins, and furans. No elevated levels of these chemicals were found.

April 2002 Samples

In April 2002, Illinois EPA staff collected soil, water, and sediment samples at the site and thesurrounding wetlands (IEPA 2002). Fourteen on-site soil and slag samples (to a depth of 6 inches)were collected from areas inside the fence. Six residential soil samples (to a depth of 1 inch), 10sediment samples from Long Lake wetlands, and four residential groundwater wells were alsocollected. These samples were analyzed for volatile organic chemicals (VOCs), semi-volatileorganic chemicals, benzoic acid, phenol-based compounds, pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls(PCBs), cyanide, sulfides, and metals. Ten private wells have been identified within one mile of thesite. Samples collected in 2002 were primarily used to determine chemicals of interest, currenthealth risks, and issues needing further consideration. These are discussed later.

Site Visit

IDPH staff reviewed digital photographs provided by Illinois EPA staff during an inspection of thesite after the facility closed. Because the site has been sealed by the Illinois EPA director, routinesite visits are limited and require special permission from Illinois EPA. Anyone entering the plantmust have written permission from the Collinsville Office of Illinois EPA and comply with theconditions of entry. The site can be viewed easily from nearby roads and was most recently visitedon August 6, 2003.

A striking feature of the facility is the tall, black waste piles between the facility and the surrounding acreage. These large piles are reportedly from the air-cooled secondary smelting process–they have been estimated to cover 13 acres. The remainder of the site includes former furnaces and stacks, concrete pads, buildings, parking areas, and driveways. In the past two deep process wells were drilled, but were not noted during the site visit. When the facility was operating, a surveillance system and 24-hour guards were employed. No security personnel were apparent during our visit.

The site is enclosed with a fence and the main parking lot has a sign stating that the facility is closedto the public. The main entrance leads to a large parking area that was built using metal-contaminated materials from the site. Roads, drives, and since the installation of gates, parking areasappear to be closed to public traffic. A railroad berm is located to the west of the site and a rail lineis within 1 mile to the east. The western railroad berm next to Illinois Route 3 follows the MississippiRiver levee. The levee and the wetlands are managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. LongLake, located south of the site, is a tributary of the Mississippi River. During wet periods, the site isinundated with standing water. When the facility was operating, pumps were used to control on-site flooding.


About 1,000 persons live within 1 mile of the site, primarily in a northern Granite City neighborhood,the southern part of Hartford, and some homes on the western edge of South Roxana. Someindividual farm homes around the site continue to be occupied. The nearest urban residential area issoutheast of the site, about ¼ mile away. The major road to this neighborhood which parallels LongLake, is known as Old Alton Road. Homes on this road have backyards relatively close to this wetland.


Chemicals of Interest

To select chemicals for further evaluation, IDPH compared chemical levels in environmental media(soil, water, air) with available health-based values. ATSDR comparison values used are defined inAttachment 1. Because of differences in body size and development, comparison values aredeveloped for both adults and for children. If an ATSDR comparison value has not been developedfor a chemical, then other relevant values are discussed.

In on-site waste samples collected in 2002, antimony, arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead, nickel, andzinc were measured at levels exceeding soil comparison values for children (Table 3). Antimony,arsenic, cadmium, copper, and zinc also exceeded adult comparison values, with cadmium being themost frequent. Young children are not expected to be trespassing on the site.

In the eight sediment samples collected from Long Lake in 2002, arsenic and cadmium exceededtheir respective comparison values (Table 4). Cadmium exceeded the child comparison value inseven (88%) of these samples. In residential soils, arsenic was the only metal found to exceed acomparison value (Table 5). For the groundwater samples collected from four private wells in 2002,no ATSDR health-based comparison values for drinking water were exceeded.

Exposure Analysis

An exposure pathway consists of (1) a source of contamination, (2) an environmental media andtransport mechanisms, (3) a point of exposure, (4) an exposure route, and (5) a receptor population.When all these elements are identified, a complete exposure pathway exists. When one or more ofthese elements is missing, a potential exposure pathway exists; that is exposure to a contaminantmay have occurred in the past, may be occurring now, or may occur in the future.

Most heavy metals are not readily absorbed through the skin and dermal contact is not a likelyexposure route. Contaminated water, dusts, or sediments that cling to skin or hands could beaccidentally ingested. This route is most likely for individuals who bite their fingernails, smokecigarettes, or do not wash their hands before eating. Over the 30 years of Chemetco operations,inhalation was a primary route of exposure. Current exposures could occur when materials on thesite become airborne. Small particles could be inhaled. Larger particles could be captured in theupper nasopharyngeal areas and be ingested.


In 1980, about 200 persons were employed at this site. When the plant closed in October 2001,about 150 workers were employed. It is not known how often personal protective equipment wasworn or how thorough were the housekeeping and hygiene practices. In the past, workplace aircontamination was a problem until the a bag house was installed to help gather airborne dusts.Direct contact by handling and transporting materials was likely common. If hand washing,showering, and clothing changes did not occur, workers could have contaminated vehicles andpersonal items. No data on workplace air or worker bio-monitoring were available for this report.

The present work force is very small and no active production is occurring. Only approved visitorsare allowed to go on the site since the facility has been under a seal order. On-site workers andvisitors likely limit their exposures by using personal protective gear and procedures to reducecontamination of office buildings and vehicles.

Future remediation work should minimize the generation of metal-laden dust during clean up and limit the impact on adjoining properties. If personal protective equipment is not worn while workingon the site, worker exposures could result in adverse health effects

Site Trespassers

Because the site is today relatively abandoned, trespassing could be a greater problem thanpreviously. During operations the company employed around-the-clock security staff. With theincreased use of personal recreational vehicles and the minimal security at the site, the waste pilescould attract unauthorized visitors. Trails and other evidence of recreational vehicle use are presentat the site. Because the waste piles contain high levels of contaminants, trespasser's exposurewould be the most concentrated of any current scenario.

The Illinois EPA Director ordered the site sealed and individuals must gain permission from theIllinois EPA Director (IEPA 2001) to visit the site. The seal order includes the main operationsareas, the southern parking lot and the sandy area south of the site. It does not include theagricultural fields to the east and north of the site. Trails and other evidence indicate continuedtrespass by users of recreational vehicles. These are most likely to be teenagers or young adults,and exposures are likely to be intermittent rather than long term. For trespassers, IDPH assumed a50-kg child would visit the site 20 days per year, and ingest 100 mg of soil per day. Using thisexposure scenario, cadmium and lead could cause adverse health effects. Both of these chemicalsand their health effects are discussed further in the toxicological evaluation section.


Until air controls were installed and until the plant closure, past residents were likely exposed todustborne heavy metals. The dust may have accumulated onto homes and properties. Because theChemetco furnaces had large stacks, emissions could have traveled some distance before settling.In the past, farm residents may have lived closer to the facility. At times, impoundments overflowed,contaminating the adjoining properties. If residents or farm workers disturbed those areas, exposurevia inhalation or ingestion may have occurred. These exposures are not as common today. It issuspected that fugitive emissions of air particulate or acid mist, runoff eroding from the slag piles orcontaminated groundwater affected the nearby agricultural crops. Some metals may have enteredthe food chain or entered livestock feed.

Current residents near Chemetco could be exposed to fugitive dusts from uncovered solid wastes.Wastes released from the site could have contaminated sediments in wetlands south of the site. Aresidential area adjoins these wetlands to the southeast. In some yards, the water's edge forms theproperty line. Residents who wade, fish, boat or engage in other recreational activities in thesewetlands could have increased exposures to these sediments, but these are not likely to result inadverse health effects. The exposure calculations are discussed in the next section.

In April 2002, six soil samples were collected from residential yards. The only chemical found atlevels greater than comparison values was arsenic. IDPH assumed that a 10-kilogram (kg) childwould be exposed to the highest levels found in residential soil while playing and would ingest 200milligrams (mg) of soil daily, 10 months per year. Using this exposure scenario, no adverse healtheffects would be expected from exposure to arsenic in residential soil.

No lead was detected in residential soil samples. IDPH determined that lead could be an issue foradult on-site trespassers. This is discussed further in the toxicological evaluation section.

Most homes are presently connected to a public water supply, but could have used private wells inthe past. The most recent sampling of private wells did not reveal any chemicals greater than theirrespective comparison values.

Long Lake Visitors

Long Lake south of the site received air and water emissions from Chemetco. This lake supportshunting, fishing, boating, and other recreational activities. Lower lake levels in summer expose moresediment. Metals can accumulate in soil from air deposition. Soil erosion and surface water runoffcan move these metals to lake sediments, where they can remain in undisturbed locations for a longtime. Inadvertent ingestion via hand-mouth activities or inhalation of air-borne contamination are considered the most likely exposure pathways.

Arsenic and cadmium were found at elevated levels in the sediments. IDPH assumed a 30-kg childwould contact 100 mg of sediment, 2 days a week, 40 weeks per year. Using this exposurescenario, no adverse health effects would be expected to occur in children from exposure tocontaminated sediments. Since the plant has closed, emissions from the facility have ceased and airexposures to workers, residents, and visitors have lessened.

Toxicological Evaluation

In most of the samples, on-site cadmium levels in soil exceeded comparison values, with the highestvalue estimated at 2,970 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg). Cadmium can accumulate in the humanbody, primarily in the cortex of the kidney. It is thought that after a certain level is reached, thekidney becomes less able to function properly and molecules typically retained by the body areexcreted. Over a lifetime, cadmium exposures should be avoided and minimized to avoid excessivebody burdens of this toxic heavy metal (ATSDR 2003).

Lead is a well-known toxic metal that has no known essential role in the human body. To activelyavoid exposures, it is important to be aware of potential sources of lead in our daily lives. Most ofthe solid waste samples on the site contained elevated lead levels, with the highest concentrationestimated to be 152,000 mg/kg or 15% lead. Exposure to lead at elevated levels can affect almostevery organ and system in the body. The most sensitive is the central nervous system, particularly inchildren. Lead also damages kidneys and the reproductive system. In adults, there is a risk of anincrease in blood pressure. The effects are the same whether lead is breathed or swallowed (ATSDR 2003).


In communities faced with air, water, or food contamination, the many physical differences betweenchildren and adults demand special emphasis. Children can be at greater risk than adults fromcertain exposures to hazardous substances. Children play outdoors and sometimes engage in hand-to-mouth behaviors that increase their exposure potential. Children are shorter than are adults, andcan breathe dust, soil, and vapors closer to the ground. A child's lower body weight and higherintake rate results in a greater dose of hazardous substance per unit of body weight. If exposurelevels are high enough during critical growth stages, the developing body systems of children cansustain permanent damage. Finally, children are dependent on adults for access to housing, foraccess to medical care, and for risk identification. Thus, adults need as much information as possibleto make informed decisions regarding their children's health.

Thus, children can be especially sensitive to some contaminants, and IDPH included children whenevaluating exposures to site-related chemicals. Exposures of small children to the most common andwidely used metals at this site should be fairly limited because the main facility is located in an areawhere young children would not attempt access. In that regard, IDPH assumed that youngtrespassers would be older children.

The metals of interest at this site have no known benefits to humans. Although the facility is nolonger operating, these metals do not break down in the environment. The potential for adverseexposure remains in areas impacted by airborne and water-borne releases from the site, wastematerials remaining on-site, and solid material transported offsite. Physical hazards are alsoassociated with material remaining onsite, including unstable slag piles.


Using the available data and information reviewed, the Illinois Department of Public Healthconcludes that under current conditions this site poses a public health hazard because of themetals that have accumulated on the site and the evidence of trespasser user of the site. Years ofprocessing and smelting recycled goods to collect copper, lead, and other metals have resulted in alarge volume of accumulated on-site metals.

Those who may have been exposed to site-related chemicals in the past, present, or future areprimarily site workers and trespassers. Recreational use of areas on the site by trespassers couldresult in exposure to elevated lead and cadmium levels.

Although the important aquifer under the site is known to contain high levels of metals, samplingarea private wells in 2002 did not reveal any elevated chemical levels.


IDPH recommends that:

Illinois EPA continue to limit public access to the site to reduce the number of trespassers.Trespassing should be discouraged with gates and postings. The seal order currently in effect shouldlimit the amount of trespassing on the site.

Current and future workers use personal protective equipment and practices to preventcontamination in offices, in vehicles, and in personal items. When remediation efforts begin, carefulhandling of on-site wastes should prevent undue exposures for workers and limit the amount offugitive dust migrating around and off the site.


IDPH will review any additional information generated by, or collected now or in the future by otheragencies. IDPH staff will participate in the review of remediation plans for this site.


Catherine Copley, MS
Environmental Toxicologist
Illinois Department of Public Health


[ATSDR] Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. 2003. Toxicological profiles CDROM. Atalnta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Belleville News-Democrat. 2000. Chemetco Lawsuits Filed.

Bureau of the Census. 2000 census population. Washington: Department of Commerce.

Chemetco. 1987. Site investigation plan - Chemetco, Incorporated, Hartford, Illinois. Tasks I, II, andIV. June 1987.

Department of the Army. 1989. St. Louis District, Corps of Engineers. May 11 Cease and DesistOrder.

[E&E] Ecology and Environment, Inc. 1987. April 12 final report for Chemetco, Inc., prepared forUS Environmental Protection Agency.

[IEPA] Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. 2002. CERCLA September 19 (released)expanded site inspection. Springfield: Office of Site Inspection, Bureau of Land.

[IEPA] Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. 2001. December 7 news release: Illinois EPADirector Issues Seal Order on Chemetco Property. Available at: Last accessed 22 March 2004.

[IEPA] Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. 1999a. Final field sampling and analysis report,Long Lake, Mitchell, Illinois.

[IEPA] Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. 1999b. August 5 Bureau of Land memo re: LongLake sampling with Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

[IEPA] Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. 1994. A Summary of Selected BackgroundConditions for Inorganics in Soil. Springfield: Office of Chemical Safety.

[IEPA] Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. 1986. January 23 potential hazardous waste site,preliminary assessment.

[IPCB] Illinois Pollution Control Board. 1984. Draft of Illinois Pollution Control Board. MadisonCounty Stipulation and Proposal for Settlement with Chemetco (draft).

Madison County. 1983. December 5 Report of Madison County Building, Environmental & ZoningDepartment re: Chemetco Copper Reclamation Facility investigation.

[USEPA] US Environmental Protection Agency. 2000. EPA Region 5 Regional Counsel, Clean AirAct Enforcement Actions FY 2000. Available at: Last accessed 22 March 2004.


The Illinois Department of Public Health prepared this Chemetco health consultation under acooperative agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). Itwas done in accordance with approved methodology and procedures existing at the time the healthconsultation was begun.

W. Allen Robison
Technical Project Officer
Superfund Site Assessment Branch (SAAB)
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation (DHAC)

The Division of Health Assessment and Consultation, ATSDR, has reviewed this health consultationand concurs with its findings.

Roberta Erlwein
State Programs Team Leader


Table 1.

Results for liquid samples collected in ditch south of Oldenburg Road, May 1983.
MetalConcentration Range (milligrams per liter)

Table 2.

Maximum level of metals detected in slag samples, May 1983.
MetalConcentration (milligrams per kilogram)

Table 3.

Chemicals of Interest for Chemetco Site. On-site Metal Concentrations in Solid Wastes in milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg). Illinois EPA samples collected 2002.
Range of Concentrations
Number of samples exceeding comparison value Soil Comparison Values
Type Value
Antimony 1.6J-1,450J 2/13 (7 R) Child 20 RMEG
2/13 (7 R) Adult 300 RMEG
Arsenic ND-242J 13/13 All ages 0.5 CREG
3/13 Child 20 RMEG
1/13 Adult 200 RMEG
Cadmium 3.8J-2,970J 10/13 Child 10 RMEG
5/13 Adult 100 RMEG
Copper 1,750-192,000J 8/13 Child 2,000 IEMEG
4/13 Adult 20,000 IEMEG
Iron 12,600-273,000 None 15,000 IL Mean
Lead 454J-29,400J 10/13 Child 1,000 IL LPPC*
Mercury ND-26.6 None 0.1 IL Mean
Nickel 298-5,820J 2/13 Child 1,000 RMEG
Zinc 642-217,000J 10/13 Child 20,000 IEMEG
1/13 Adult 200,000 IEMEG

J = laboratory estimated values
R = laboratory rejected values

IL LPPC = Illinois Lead Poisoning Prevention Code; 1000 ppm is for yard average, 400 ppm for bare soil/high contact areas.

IL Mean = typical concentration in IL soils (IEPA, 1994)
RMEG = Reference Dose Media Evaluation Guide
CREG = Cancer Risk Evaluation Guide
IEMEG = Intermediate Environmental Media Evaluation Guide

Table 4.

Chemicals of Interest in Long Lake Sediment South of Chemetco Site in milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg). Illinois EPA samples collected 2002.
Range of Sediment Concentrations
Number of samples exceeding comparison value Comparison Values
Type Value
Arsenic 4.8-7.8 8/8 All ages 0.5 CREG
Cadmium 8.1-57.3 7/8 Child 10 CEMEG

CREG = Cancer Risk Evaluation Guide
CEMEG = Chronic Environmental Media Evaluation Guide

Table 5.

Chemicals of Interest in Residential Soil Near the Chemetco Site in milligrams per kilogram. Illinois EPA samples collected 2002.
Range of Concentrations Number of samples exceeding comparison value Comparison Values
Type Value Source
Arsenic 6.1-13.1 6/6 All ages 0.5 CREG

CREG = Cancer Risk Evaluation Guide

Approximate Location of Chemetco
Figure 1. Approximate Location of Chemetco


Environmental Media Evaluation Guides (EMEGs) are developed for chemicals based on theirtoxicity, frequency of occurrence at National Priorities List (NPL) sites, and potential for humanexposure. They are not action levels but are comparison values. They are developed withoutconsideration for carcinogenic effects, chemical interactions, multiple route exposure, or exposurethrough other environmental media. They are very conservative concentration values designed toprotect sensitive members of the population.

Reference Dose Media Evaluation Guides (RMEGs) are another type of comparison value. Theyare developed without consideration for carcinogenic effects, chemical interactions, multiple routeexposure, or exposure through other environmental media. They are very conservativeconcentration values designed to protect sensitive members of the population.

Cancer Risk Evaluation Guides (CREGs) are estimated contaminant concentrations based on a probability of one excess cancer in a million persons exposed to a chemical over a lifetime.

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