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The Taracorp/NL Industries site (Taracorp) is a National Priorities List site in Granite City, Madison County, Illinois that borders the towns of Madison and Venice. This area is part of the Mississippi River flood plain known as the American Bottoms. Taracorp was a secondary lead smelter from 1903 to 1983. In 1983, it ceased secondary lead smelting as the result of continued violations of lead air standards, but continues to operate the metal refining and fabrication facilities. Taracorp was placed on the National Priorities List in 1984. Homes are within one block of the site. Elevated levels of lead resulting from past site operations and disposal practices have been detected in residential and commercial soils in Granite City, Madison, and Venice.

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) concludes that the Taracorp site poses a public health hazard because of chronic exposure of the public (especially children) to lead, cadmium, antimony, and arsenic in on-site and off-site soils. The primary lead exposure concern for children living near the site is from contaminated off-site soil and off-site air. Airborne lead levels in the neighborhoods surrounding the site may pose a health threat through inhalation and ingestion. Off-site lead contamination of soil may be the result of past smelter stack emissions and fugitive dust generated from the waste piles and on-site soil. Off-site soil lead levels near the site boundary are as high as 20,000 parts per million, with lead levels decreasing with distance from the site. Site-related lead contamination appears to have affected an area greater than four square miles around the site.

A lead exposure study conducted by IDPH in 1991 concluded that house dust served as a major source of lead exposure in small children living near the site. The lead in house dust was due to lead in paint and soil. The study suggested that soil was a small but statistically significant contributor to blood lead levels in children. The soil lead levels in many off-site areas are greater than background and may serve as a source of exposure to area residents, especially children. Levels of detectable cadmium in the urine of young children ages 6 months through 71 months were 18 times more likely to occur near Taracorp as compared with other studies.

Vegetables grown in soils with high lead levels may have higher lead concentrations than those grown in soil with lower lead levels. Garden plants, especially leafy vegetables, continue to receive some lead by deposition of airborne, lead-contaminated dust. This source probably does not greatly contribute to overall lead exposure; however, contaminated soil or dust that is not rinsed from vegetables could increase the ingestion of lead. Plants are known to take up cadmium and arsenic from soil. The rate of cadmium uptake by plants and the concentration in vegetables is not known. Inorganic arsenic taken up by plants may be transformed to an organic form that is less toxic.

Although site-related contaminants affect area groundwater, groundwater is not used as a drinking water source. The city supply is drawn from the Mississippi River and is unaffected by site-related contamination.


A. Site Description and History

Lead and associated inorganic contaminants are known to exist in and next to the Taracorp site because of industrial operations at this facility over a period of 80 years. The site was placed on the National Priorities List (NPL) in 1984. A remedial investigation was completed in 1988, and a feasibility study was completed in August 1989. A final Record of Decision (ROD) was signed in March 1990. The ROD required cleanup of lead-contaminated soils and battery chips at the site and at residential properties, and capping of the Taracorp pile. The ROD was reopened for review and public comment in 1994. In September 1995, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) issued a Decision Document/Explanation of Significant Differences. Groundwater monitoring was added to the reopened ROD, but the other conclusions remained essentially the same.

The Taracorp site is on 16th Street south of Niedringhaus Avenue in Granite City, Madison County, Illinois (Figure 1). Presently, the site covers less than 18 acres, but historic information shows that Hoyt Metal Company (a previous owner) operated on 30 acres. The site borders properties owned by Trust 454, Terminal Railroad Associates Inc., Illinois Central Gulf Railroad, Chicago and Northwestern Railroad, and Tri-Cities Trucking Inc. St. Louis Lead Recyclers (SLLR) is a tenant of Trust 454 (Figure 2). The site is on the Mississippi River flood plain known as the American Bottoms. The site is not within the 100-year flood plain because of a levee system along the Mississippi River.

Metallico, the current owner, continues lead processing; however, on-site activities were greatly reduced in 1983 in an effort to reduce lead air emissions. Subsequent decreases in the price of lead further reduced production. A 3.5-acre pile of slag is found on the southern boundary of the site. A preliminary site assessment performed in May 1983 estimated the quantity of lead waste to be 250,000 tons. Most of this waste is in and around the slag storage area. The slag storage area is known to contain slag, metallic lead, lead oxide, other lead compounds, cadmium, arsenic, iron oxide, silica, rubber and plastic battery cases, general refuse, drums, and matte. Matte is a by-product of smelting that contains metal sulfides and metal oxides.

Site operations started in 1895 as the Markle Lead Works, which manufactured lead shot and clay pigeons. In November 1900, fire destroyed most of the facility. In 1901, the plant was rebuilt and included a lead smelter. Before 1903, processes at the site included the manufacturing of lead shot, sealing wax, mixed metals, rolled sheet metal, and dross refining. Dross is the term for the waste products or impurities on the surface of molten metal. United Lead purchased the smelter in 1903. After 1903, secondary smelting capabilities were added. Secondary smelting is the process of smelting lead-bearing materials other than ores. N.L. Industries, formerly the National Lead Company, acquired the smelter in 1928. Battery recycling began in the 1950s. In 1979, N.L. Industries sold the site to Taracorp Industries. Taracorp Industries sold the site to the present owner Metallico.

Taracorp has a secondary smelter with a capacity to produce 22,000 tons of lead products per year. In 1983, Taracorp ceased secondary smelting. Taracorp continues to operate the metal refining and fabricating facilities at the site. The facility produced lead products by recycling lead-bearing scrap materials. The lead products produced at Taracorp Industries included sheet lead, solder, shotgun pellets, lead wool, and secondary lead ingots.

SLLR borders Taracorp on its southwest boundary. SLLR was built in 1980 and was originally designed to reclaim lead from batteries. In 1982, SLLR reached an agreement that allowed them to recycle various materials from Taracorp. Between 1981 and 1983, SLLR processed approximately 11,000 tons of the Taracorp slag pile. Materials that could not be recycled (e.g., slag and hard rubber) were placed southwest of the slag pile. In June 1983, SLLR stopped recycling lead from the slag pile. The pile has remained undisturbed since that time.

USEPA began the remediation of contaminated alleys and driveways in April 1993. The cleanup level of 500 parts per million (ppm) of lead in soil included about 1,300 properties. The city of Granite City filed a Temporary Restraining Order-Permanent Injunction in Federal Court limiting the USEPA cleanup because the city believed that removing contaminated soil would not greatly reduce the residents' exposure to lead in the environment. The request for a Restraining Order was denied by a Federal judge on August 22, 1996, allowing USEPA to continue with the full cleanup. As of late 1998, about 1,100 properties had their soils remediated. USEPA anticipates completion of residential soil cleanup by December 1999.

In April 1999, USEPA began construction of a cap for the 3.5-acre Taracorp slag pile. This activity includes excavating several small slag and battery casing piles, placing the piles and contaminated soils (greater than 1,000 ppm of lead) on the existing 3.5-acre pile, regrading the entire pile to a smooth surface, covering this surface with a synthetic liner and a soil cap, and topping with a final layer of clean soil and vegetation. USEPA expects to have the slag pile work completed by September 1999.

B. Site Visit

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has visited the site many times since 1983. The most recent site visit was conducted in December 1996. The dominant site feature is the huge slag pile that covers nearly 5 acres at the southern end of the property. The slag pile rises more than 40 feet above grade in some areas and is estimated to weigh more than 250,000 tons. The pile is unprotected from the elements, although company representatives have stated the pile has been treated chemically to reduce wind erosion. The type of chemical used and its efficacy are unknown. The remainder of the site consists of various occupied and unoccupied buildings, railroad tracks, pavement, and bare soil. There are many pieces of heavy equipment, some abandoned, on adjacent properties. Thousands of broken battery cases, large pieces of metal slag, barrels, and construction debris are visible on the surface of the pile. A chain link fence encloses the facility. The site has been accessible in the past through an open gate on the SLLR property; however, the gate is currently locked at night.

Due to continued industrial operations at the site, trespassing is unlikely. Although a determined trespasser could gain access during such times, there are no reports or evidence of trespass. There is evidence of vegetative stress along the edge of the slag pile, perhaps due to battery acid or metal pollution; however, several small trees and grasses are growing on the pile itself. The neighborhood is a mixed residential, commercial, and industrial area with the closest homes located a few hundred feet east of the site (Figure 1).

C. Demographics, Land Use, and Natural Resource Use

The population within a 3-mile radius of the site is about 30,500, and includes all of Venice (population 3,570), Madison (population 4,630), and about two-thirds of Granite City (population 32,770). The estimated population within a 1/2-mile radius is approximately 8,000 and the population within a 1/4-mile radius is approximately 4,000. In 1980, the number of children 5 years old and younger in Granite City, Madison, and Venice was 3,301. The estimated number of children 5 years of age and under within a 3-mile radius is 2,445. The number of children 5 years of age and under within a 1/2-mile radius is 312, and within a 1/4-mile radius is 156.

The closest residents are within 100 yards of the Taracorp property line. The neighborhood directly east of the site consists of multiple and single family dwellings. A hospital and seven schools are found within a 1-mile radius of the site, and are within the proposed cleanup areas. The adjacent properties to the south, west, and north are zoned for industrial use. Industries to the south are SLLR, Commonwealth Steel Co., and Illinois Power Co. BV&G Transport is next to the site on the southeast side. National Steel Corporation is next to the site on the west side and is separated by railroad tracks. The industries that border the site to the northeast are S.M. Wilson and Co., Nesco Steel Barrel Co., Hubbell Metals, and Granite City Steel.

Recreational activities that may occur within a 1-mile radius of the site would be limited to playground activities at an elementary school and playing in yards and empty lots. There are no parks or recreational bodies of water within 1 mile of the site.

D. Health Outcome Data

Taracorp has been the focus of considerable attention and concern over the past decade. At least three screenings of potentially exposed populations have been conducted since the late 1970s. IDPH sampled residents of Granite City and Madison in late 1982, and sampled residents of Venice in late 1983. The studies were undertaken because of concern about the high lead levels measured in air while the smelter was in operation. In response to concern generated by the planned remedial action and in recognition of new information about the hazards of lead exposure, IDPH and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) began a large epidemiological study of lead exposure in these communities in 1991. The evaluation of these studies is presented in the Public Health Implications section of this document.

The Granite City Lead Exposure Study was conducted by IDPH in the summer and fall of 1991. The study was performed under a grant from ATSDR and was done to determine if site-related lead exposure was occurring in the population surrounding the site. The study area included Granite City, Madison, and Venice. Sources of lead examined in the study included soil, paint, dust, and water.


In 1983, public attention and concern were raised because Taracorp repeatedly exceeded acceptable ambient air levels of lead and was listed as an NPL site. Concern diminished during the period 1983-1990 when no apparent regulatory activity was underway at the site. In early 1990, USEPA conducted a series of public meetings culminating in a public hearing to discuss their proposed remedial action for the Taracorp site and to take public comments. At that time, the preferred alternative in the Record of Decision (ROD) was excavation of all off-site residential soils having lead levels at or above 500 ppm. The soil was then to be placed atop the slag pile, and the entire pile was to be capped. Public reaction was mixed on this remedial alternative. The majority of area citizens preferred full removal to the capping of the Taracorp pile.

Community concerns included:

  1. What are the effects of lead on health?
  2. Why are children more sensitive to lead's effects?
  3. Where does lead come from and how does exposure to lead occur?
  4. Is lead exposure related to cancer?
  5. Are garden vegetables safe to eat?
  6. Will blood tests for lead be made available?
  7. What is the basis for the 500 ppm lead cleanup level?

Additional concerns mainly focused on the remedial action's effects on property values and the desire to be rid of the slag pile rather than the creation of a bigger pile. According public comments received by USEPA, the residents were divided with concern to the residential yard cleanup and the majority of the residents preferred removal of the Taracorp pile over the capping alternative. Additional groundwater data caused USEPA to reopen the ROD. The conclusions of the reopened ROD were the same as the original ROD, with the addition of a groundwater containment system.


IDPH compared the concentration of each contaminant detected during environmental sampling with the appropriate comparison value developed by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). These comparison values are used to select contaminants for further evaluation for exposure and any resulting carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic health effects. Chemicals found at levels greater than comparison values or those for which no comparison value exists were selected for further evaluation.

The comparison values used to select contaminants for further evaluation include Environmental Media Evaluation Guides (EMEGs), Cancer Risk Evaluation Guides (CREGs), Reference Dose Media Evaluation Guides (RMEGs), Lifetime Health Advisories (LTHAs), and Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs).

EMEGs are developed for chemicals based on their toxicity, frequency of occurrence at National Priority List (NPL) sites, and potential for human exposure. They are derived to protect the most sensitive populations and are not action levels, but rather comparison values. They do not consider carcinogenic effects, chemical interactions, multiple route exposure, or other media-specific routes of exposure, and are very conservative concentration values designed to protect sensitive members of the population.

RMEGs are another type of comparison value derived to protect the most sensitive populations. They do not consider carcinogenic effects, chemical interactions, multiple route exposure, or other media-specific routes of exposure, and are very conservative concentration values designed to protect sensitive members of the population.

CREGs are estimated contaminant concentrations based on a probability of one excess cancer in a million persons exposed to a chemical over a lifetime. These are also very conservative values designed to protect sensitive members of the population.

LTHAs have been established by USEPA for drinking water and are the concentration of a chemical in drinking water that is not expected to cause any adverse non-carcinogenic effects over a lifetime of exposure. These are conservative values that incorporate a margin of safety.

MCLs have been established by USEPA for public water supplies to reduce the chances of adverse health effects from contaminated drinking water. These standards are well below levels for which health effects have been observed and take into account the financial feasibility of achieving specific contaminant levels. These are enforceable limits that public water supplies must meet.

Chemicals released near the site by other industries were determined by examination of the USEPA's Toxic Chemical Release Inventory (TRI). This database contains self-reported information on releases of materials to air, water, land, and other information. These data were examined for Granite City (Zip Code 62040), Madison (Zip Code 62060), and Venice (Zip Code 62090). In 1993, total emissions were 520,725 pounds per year to the air, 77,392 pounds per year to waterways, and 4,662,979 pounds per year in landfills. The top five companies with highest releases were (from highest to lowest) Granite City Steel, Precoat Metals, Reilly Industries, Spectralite Consortium, and Granite City Pickling. The breakdown of area releases by company, compound, and amount of release per medium are found in Table 1.

A. On-site Contamination

The contaminants found on the site are mainly inorganic chemicals. Because of the history of the site, most samples were not analyzed for organic chemicals. Slag pile, soil, groundwater, air, and surface water samples were collected on the site. Slag pile, drum, soil, and groundwater analyses were performed by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (Illinois EPA) from 1982 to 1983, and by O'Brien and Gere in 1987. O'Brien and Gere also analyzed surface water and sediments in 1987. Air monitoring was conducted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in 1987, and by Taracorp from 1987 to 1988. Because access to the site is restricted to Taracorp employees, the comparison values used for the waste piles, slag, surface soil, and drummed material were for adults.

1. Waste Pile Analyses

Samples were taken in January 1987 from the two largest slag piles and some drums (Figure 3). In the largest slag pile, both the upper layers and actual slag were sampled. All samples were analyzed for antimony, arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, copper, iron, lead, manganese, mercury, nickel, selenium, silver, and zinc. Of these, no comparison values have been developed for copper, lead, mercury, or zinc. Analyses for organic compounds were not performed on these samples.

a. Slag from Largest Waste Pile

The largest waste pile was divided into four quadrants. A composite sample was taken from four locations in each quadrant. Table 2 lists the chemicals of interest for slag in the largest waste pile. Mercury levels were below detection limits in the slag samples.

Two of the slag samples were analyzed for extraction procedure (EP) toxicity. EP toxicity was done to determine if the slag is a hazardous waste for arsenic, cadmium, chromium, and lead. Results of the EP toxicity samples are given in Table 3. The slag is considered a hazardous waste based on the EP toxicity values for lead.

b. Upper Layers of the Largest Waste Pile

Ten samples were taken from the material on top of the largest slag pile. The samples were filtered in the field through a 9.5 millimeter (mm) sieve. The purpose of sieving these samples was that the 9.5 mm fraction includes those particles that would be small enough in size to be transported by wind or runoff under extreme weather conditions. The chemicals of interest in the upper layers of the slag pile are listed in Table 4. Five of the samples were analyzed for EP toxicity of arsenic, cadmium, chromium, and lead. Four of the five samples were EP toxic for lead, and one of five were EP toxic for cadmium (Table 5).

c. Surface Materials from SLLR Pile

In 1987, O'Brien and Gere took three samples from the SLLR slag pile (Figure 3). The chemicals of interest for the SLLR pile are listed in Table 6 and are the same ones listed for the largest slag pile. The SLLR pile was expected to be very similar in composition to the largest slag pile since it is wholly or in part a sub-sample of that pile.

One sample from the SLLR pile was analyzed for EP toxicity of arsenic, cadmium, chromium, and lead. This sample was sieved through 9.5 mm opening screens. Lead was EP toxic in the SLLR pile (Table 7).

2. Drummed Material

In May 1983, Illinois EPA took two drum samples and analyzed them for metals and EP toxicity. The chemicals of interest are shown in Table 8. The EP toxicity of the drummed material was analyzed for arsenic, cadmium, chromium, and lead. The results in Table 9 show that lead was EP toxic in both samples, and cadmium was EP toxic in one sample.

O'Brien and Gere took two samples of drummed material from the top of the waste pile in January 1987 (Table 8). The cadmium and lead concentrations in one drum were 2,700 ppm and 23,700 ppm, respectively. The total lead concentration in the other drum was 237,000 ppm.

Only three drums were sampled at Taracorp, and they may not represent the contents of all the drums. Approximately 30 drums were observed during field investigations of the piles. Although more drums may be buried in the piles, they are probably a very small percentage of the total waste on the site. The total contribution that contamination from the drums might contribute to exposure is small and likely approaches zero.

3. Soil

A. Surface Soil

In August 1982 and January 1983, Illinois EPA collected six on-site surface soil samples. Surface samples were defined as samples taken from 0 to 6 inches in depth. O'Brien and Gere performed a soil investigation of the Taracorp site in January 1987. The on-site soil sample in this survey consisted of two samples (0 to 3 inches deep and 3 to 6 inches deep) at one location. The soil sample was analyzed for total lead concentration. The location and lead concentrations of the six Illinois EPA samples and the surface soil sample taken by O'Brien and Gere in 1987 are shown in Figure 4. The lead concentrations in these samples ranged from 14,800 ppm to 300,000 ppm.

In 1988, archived samples from the 0 to 3 inch range were analyzed for antimony, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, and zinc. The analysis results between the first samples and the archived samples showed a wide discrepancy in the lead levels; however, the variation between the lead analyses of the archived samples and the original samples was deemed to be within an acceptable range. The greatest variation was in the lone on-site soil sample. The first sample analysis shows the lead concentration of the on-site sample, 0-3 inches, was 1,550 ppm; however, the archived sample analysis was 14,800 ppm.

The on-site chemicals of interest are listed in Table 10. Since only one sample was taken and analyzed for chemicals other than lead, it probably does not accurately reflect on-site soil contaminant concentrations.

B. Subsurface Soil

In October 1982, subsurface soil samples were taken at Taracorp from the monitoring well boring of well 101 (Figure 5). Six samples were taken from depths between 4.0 and 30.5 feet and were analyzed for lead. The concentrations of lead varied from 13 ppm at the 29 to 30.5-foot depth to 2,700 ppm at the 14 to 15.5-foot depth. The sample was analyzed only for lead because it was expected to be the main contaminant.

In May 1983, on-site soil samples were taken from monitoring well borings (Figure 5). Samples were taken from the boring at various depths from 0 to 35 feet deep. In all, 40 separate samples were taken from the 4 borings. The boring samples were analyzed for antimony, arsenic, lead, magnesium, and zinc.

The subsurface soil samples from all five boring locations were divided into two depth groups: 1 to 20 feet and greater than 20 feet. Table 11 lists the chemicals of interest in the subsurface samples at these two depths. The high value of the range for lead in the 1 to 20-foot sample was taken from boring 1 at a depth between 14.0 and 15.5 feet. This suggests that lead may be migrating vertically through the soil.

4. Groundwater

The initial on-site groundwater investigation began in October 1982. At that time, four monitoring wells, G101 - G104, were installed at Taracorp. Two of those wells, G101 and G104, were installed on the site. Groundwater samples taken from G104 (a downgradient well) in November 1982 showed the presence of lead at 50 parts per billion (ppb). This information prompted Illinois EPA to install eight more wells, consisting of four sets of shallow and deep wells, in July 1983 (Figure 5). At each location, the shallow well was installed at the surface of the water table, which is 22 to 26 feet below grade. The deep wells were installed 3 to 5 feet from the shallow wells and 10 to 15 feet deeper than the shallow wells. The sampling dates of the on-site monitoring wells, along with other pertinent data, are given in Table 12. The chemicals analyzed for in the samples taken in 1982 and 1983 were arsenic, boron, cadmium, chloride, total chromium, copper, fluoride, iron, lead, manganese, nickel, silver, sulfate, and zinc.

O'Brien and Gere took additional samples of on-site groundwater from these wells in January, April, August, and November 1987. After the January 1987 sampling round, wells 105S, 106S, and 108S did not contain enough water to sample. All the samples were analyzed for sulfate, total dissolved solids, and the following filterable metals: antimony, arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, copper, iron, lead, manganese, mercury, nickel, selenium, silver, and zinc. The samples were filtered to remove suspended material and the water was analyzed. Although this process may underestimate the total metal concentrations in the water, it is representative of the metals that would be available for absorption by persons who might drink the water. Total lead concentration was analyzed in samples from wells 101, 102, 106D, and 108D.

Chemicals of interest in groundwater are shown in Table 13. All wells contained a chemical at a level greater than the adult comparison value at least once during monitoring. Groundwater flow in the Granite City area is generally west-southwest. Groundwater pumping in the Granite City area has disrupted the general groundwater flow patterns. Upgradient, on-site wells might include 101, 105S, and 105D; however, these wells also contained some contaminants. Wells 108S and 108D had the highest levels of contamination and are downgradient of the waste piles and near the battery breaking operations.

Lead was detected in 16 of 40 on-site groundwater samples and in all on-site wells except 105S, 105D, and 106S. Cadmium exceeded the comparison value in one of every four on-site samples and was detected at least once in five wells. Nickel concentrations equaled the comparison value in 9 of 45 samples. Nickel was found in three on-site wells, two of which were deep. Arsenic exceeded the comparison value in 11 of 45 samples from two on-site wells. Sulfates exceeded the comparison value in 15 of 45 samples in five different wells. The contamination of deep wells by more than one contaminant suggests that the inorganic compounds may be migrating through the soil and into the groundwater.

5. Surface Water and Sediment

Four samples of storm runoff from the slag pile, including water and sediments, were collected in May 1987 (Figure 6). The samples were only analyzed for lead content. Surface water runoff also was collected on the site. Lead analysis of the samples ranged from 3 to 41 ppm. For comparison, the standard for lead discharge into a waterway is 0.2 ppm. Sediment samples were also collected during runoff from the slag area in the same locations as the surface runoff samples. Lead levels in the samples ranged from 5,400 ppm to 97,000 ppm.

6. Air

OSHA has performed air monitoring in the workers' breathing space at different on-site work locations from December 1987 to February 1988. All 28 samples were analyzed for lead, and 27 samples were analyzed for arsenic. Antimony and tin were analyzed in one air sample.

An action level is the concentration of a substance in air when OSHA regulations designed to protect employees take effect. Permissible exposure limits (PELs) are the maximum level of a substance in air that an employee can be exposed to. PELs are based on an 8-hour time-weighted average exposure and are legally enforceable by OSHA.

The PEL for lead in air is 0.2 milligrams per cubic meter (mg/m3) in an occupational setting, provided workers wear protective clothing and a respirator. The PEL without protection is 0.05 mg/m3, and the action level set in these areas is 0.03 mg/m3. Four of 18 samples exceeded the PEL in the areas where workers wore protection.

Arsenic was also sampled in the workers' breathing space. The OSHA PEL for arsenic was 50 micrograms per cubic meter (g/m3) at the time of sampling. The current PEL for arsenic is 10 g/m3. The action level was 5 g/m3. The results of the December 1987 to February 1988 OSHA inspection of Taracorp indicate that arsenic levels exceeded the PEL in 1 of the 28 samples and exceeded the action level in 5 of 28 samples.

Besides the 1987 OSHA air samples, Taracorp had individual workers participate in a personal monitoring program for lead and arsenic exposure in 1987. The samples were taken quarterly, and the results of the personal monitoring program are shown in Table 14. The individuals are grouped by department. One hundred persons participated in the personal monitoring program for lead. The mean air lead concentration over four quarters exceeded the PEL of 0.2 mg/m3 in four departments: Mixed Metals "A"; Mixed Metals "A" Dross; Maintenance; and Powdered Metals/Flux. The National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for lead in air is 1.5 g/m3. The NAAQS for lead was exceeded in every department.

The personal monitoring program for arsenic was also conducted quarterly, and the results are presented in Table 15. Twenty-six individuals from five departments participated in the arsenic personal monitoring program. The mean arsenic concentration for the personal monitoring program in 1987 exceeded the PEL of 0.05 mg/m3 in two of the five departments.

7. Biomonitoring

Workers' blood lead levels were monitored for a 13-month period from December 1986 to December 1987. Samples were to be taken at least once a month and more frequently if the blood levels exceeded 50 micrograms per deciliter (g/dL). Often, the sampling of individuals was not performed monthly. The reason for this lack of sampling is unknown.

One hundred twenty people participated in the blood monitoring program. Three people had blood lead levels greater than 50 g/dL at least once during the sampling period. Twenty-two people had blood lead levels above 40 g/dL during the sampling period. The blood samples ranged from <10 g/dL to 56 g/dL, with a mean of 24 g/dL.

B. Off-site Contamination

Inorganic chemicals including arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, nickel, and zinc have been studied off the site. Lead has been the most extensively studied. Off-site analyses include soil, air, groundwater, vegetables, household dust, drinking water, and blood.

1. Soil

Off-site soil sampling in areas surrounding the site has been performed on four separate occasions. Illinois EPA performed the first sampling event in 1982. The second sampling event was performed by O'Brien and Gere in 1987 and 1988. In 1989, IDPH took 40 samples. Illinois EPA took the most recent samples north-northeast of Taracorp in and around the Jennison-Wright site. These samples were taken within 6 inches of the surface and are called surface soil samples. The locations of these surface soil samples can be seen in Figure 7.

In 1982, soil samples were taken from neighborhoods surrounding the smelter. Four types of samples were taken. These samples (and the number of each sample type) were: bare surface soil (7), soil with vegetated surfaces (36), subsurface soil (2), and garden soil (6).

In 1987, 52 surface soil samples were taken from off-site locations. Forty-one surface soil samples were taken within a 0.5-mile radius of the site. The remaining 11 samples were collected from the remote fill areas in Venice and Eagle Park Acres, where chips of battery casings from the site were used as paving and fill materials. Two soil samples were taken at depths of 0 to 3 inches and 3 to 6 inches from each location within the half-mile radius. These samples were originally analyzed for lead only. The 0 to 3 inch archived samples were analyzed not only for lead, but also for antimony, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, and zinc. There were discrepancies between lead concentrations in samples that should have been identical. In comparing the first and second analyses, all but four of the lead concentrations in the first analyses were higher. The differences between the analyses ranged from 0 to 13,250 ppm. The mean of the differences was 820 ppm with a standard deviation of 2,184 ppm. One sample was analyzed for EP Toxicity but was not found to be a hazardous waste.

In October 1987, IDPH collected four soil samples in Granite City. The locations of these samples were: Grand Avenue between 15th and 16th Streets; 16th Street between Delmar Avenue and Edison Avenue; 20th and Delmar; and 23rd and Madison. These samples were analyzed for arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, and nickel.

In 1989, IDPH collected 40 soil samples surrounding the site. Some of these samples were taken in areas that had been previously sampled by O'Brien and Gere. These samples were taken for comparison with the O'Brien and Gere samples because of the discrepancy between analyses of identical samples by their laboratory. Other samples were taken in each block south and east of the site for a distance of two blocks. The samples were analyzed for arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, nickel, and zinc content.

In 1991, as part of the Madison County Lead Study, 375 off-site soil samples were collected by USEPA. These samples were analyzed for cadmium and lead. The results of the lead samples are similar to the other off-site soil samples and are summarized in Table 16.

The off-site chemicals of interest are listed in Table 17. The comparison values used are based on children with pica behavior (ingestion of an unusually large amount of non-food items). Copper, manganese, mercury, and selenium were not analyzed in the off-site surface soils. Antimony, arsenic, and cadmium exceeded the comparison values in every sample. Chromium and nickel exceeded the comparison values in some soil samples.

Lead levels generally decreased as distance from the site increased. Table 18 shows the lead concentration ranges based on increasing distance from the site. In 1983, Illinois EPA created a map showing the concentration of lead in surface soils near the site (Figure 8). The map depicts the highest concentration of lead in off-site soils to be in those areas closest to the site. The lead concentrations on this map coincide reasonably well with samples taken after the map was created.

2. Groundwater

Groundwater was monitored in off-site wells from 1982 to 1983 and again in 1987. Wells 102 and 103 were constructed by Taracorp in November 1982. Two additional monitoring wells, 109 and 110, were installed by O'Brien and Gere in July 1987 (Figure 5).

The chemicals of interest in off-site monitoring wells are shown in Table 19. Cadmium was present in one sample from well 103 and in both samples from well 110. Lead in wells 102 and 103 indicates off-site groundwater contamination. Well 110 is considered upgradient of the site, and the source of cadmium in this well is unknown.

The 1988 remedial investigation identified at least 36 wells within a 2-mile radius of the site (Figure 9). In addition, IDPH, Illinois EPA, and USEPA conducted a door-to-door search for residential wells within a 1-mile radius downgradient of the site. One well was found in a residential area approximately 0.25 miles from the site. The well in the residential area was not used for drinking water. Sample results from this off-site well were not found and it is unknown whether it is currently in use.

3. Air

Illinois EPA has performed air monitoring at 11 locations between 1977 and 1990 throughout the Granite City area, with most air monitors used for five years or less. Six of the longer-running air monitoring sites, as seen in Figure 10, are: (1) Roosevelt and Rock Road; (2) 19th and Adams; (3) 17th and Cleveland; (4) 15th and Madison; (5) 23rd and Madison; and (6) 2001 E. 20th. The distance and direction of these air monitors from the site are as follows: (1) Roosevelt and Rock Road - 1 5/8 miles, north; (2) 19th and Adams - 7/8 of a mile, northeast; (3) 17th and Cleveland - 1/4 of a mile, northeast; (4) 15th and Madison - 1/4 of a mile, southeast; (5) 23rd and Madison - 1 7/8 miles, northeast; and (6) 2001 E. 20th - 9/10 of a mile, east. A summary of lead in air sampling results is listed in Table 20.

Table 20 shows a steady decline in the ambient air lead levels at all monitoring sites between 1977 and 1990. This decline may be due to variety of factors including decreased use of leaded gasoline, loss of industries in Granite City, and the closure of the secondary smelter and SLLR reclamation activities in the pile in 1983.

The NAAQS for lead is 1.5 g/m3 per quarter. The yearly averages exceeded the standard five times: four times at 15th and Madison and once at 19th and Adams. The NAAQS has not been exceeded since the first quarter in 1984 at the monitor at 15th and Madison.

Ambient air data were divided into two time frames, 1977 to 1982 and 1983 to 1990. The purpose of this division was because Taracorp ceased its secondary smelting operation and SLLR suspended waste pile reclamation in 1983. Air levels before 1983 would be most representative of past exposures with data collected after 1982 representing current and future exposures. Table 21 contains the ambient off-site air data in the Granite City area between 1977 and 1982. The values used in the ranges are yearly arithmetic means for that year. The column labeled "highest mean" gives the year of the highest mean for the specified period and the location number of that mean. The location number refers to the sampling location in Figure 10. Arsenic exceeded the comparison value in air for the period. No comparison value exists for lead, copper, or zinc in air.

Table 22 contains information on ambient air concentrations from 1983 to 1990. Nickel and chromium exceeded the comparison value at the 2001 E. 20th Street location. Selenium had its highest yearly arithmetic mean concentration of 0.012 µg/m3 at the 15th and Madison and 2001 E. 20th Street locations. Since selenium was not found in the on-site areas above detection limits, the source of selenium in the air is not known. Arsenic exceeded its air comparison value at all locations. Lead and selenium were detected at several locations, but neither have an air comparison value.

Air monitoring for zinc and copper was discontinued in 1978. Antimony was not detected in any of the samples. Air monitoring began for selenium in 1984 and chromium in 1985.

4. Vegetables

Vegetable samples were taken in the fall of 1982 from gardens near Taracorp. The samples were analyzed for lead by a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) laboratory. Table 23 contains the vegetable analysis results and the soil lead concentrations of each garden. The locations of the gardens near Taracorp are shown in Figure 11. Background vegetable samples, with soil lead concentrations of 97 ppm and 53 ppm, were taken from the northeast side of Granite City. Vegetables were prepared before analysis by washing them with distilled water and peeling vegetables that are normally peeled before eating.

The lead concentrations in the tomatoes, banana peppers, and okra from the two control areas were similar. All the vegetable samples taken from the control areas (areas with lower soil lead concentrations) had lower lead concentrations than those taken from neighborhoods adjacent to the site. Vegetable lead levels generally decreased with a decrease in soil lead concentration. The lead levels of selected vegetables from an FDA market basket survey of four different regions of the U.S. have much lower lead levels than the vegetables taken from gardens near the site.

Arsenic and cadmium and were not analyzed in vegetables taken from the garden samples since the primary site-related contaminant was lead. Both arsenic and cadmium are taken up by plants.

5. Drinking Water

In 1991, 373 "first draw" drinking water samples were collected from households that participated in the Madison County Lead Study. The first draw sample was taken from the tap after it had not been used for at least 8 hours. The first draw samples allow any lead in the pipes to leach into the tap water and would be expected to represent the highest lead concentrations in the tap water. Table 16 contains summary information on the tap water sample results. The lead levels in tap water samples from Granite City had a range from below detection (<2.0 µg/L) to 96 µg/L. Ten samples had lead levels above the action level of 15 g/L. The mean lead concentration in the tap water was 3.3 g/L.

Nine of the ten water samples with lead concentrations above 15 g/L were redrawn after first letting the tap water run until the temperature stabilized, indicating that the water had come from the water main. All nine second drawn water samples had lead levels less than the detection limit of 2.0 µg/L of lead. The results indicate that the water is probably contaminated by lead in the household plumbing. These residents were instructed to run their water a few minutes prior to using it for drinking or cooking.

6. Household Dust

Household dust was taken from 371 households and the dust loading factor (dust sample weight divided by surface area then multiplied by the dust lead concentration) was calculated for 367 households. The mean dust loading factor for the household was 885 µg/m2. A summary of the dust sample results is presented in Table 16.

7. Paint

Indoor and outdoor paint samples were taken from 372 and 380 households, respectively. The samples were analyzed using an XK-3 X-ray fluorescence instrument. Eighteen readings were taken indoors and 12 readings were taken outdoors. A summary of the paint sample results are given in Table 16.

8. Biomonitoring

In 1991, 827 residents of Granite City, Madison, and Venice participated in the Madison County Lead Study. A breakdown of participants by age is given in Table 24. Four hundred ninety (490) of the participants were in the target age range of 6 - 71 months. Table 25 shows the blood lead distribution of the children age 6 months to 71 months who have blood lead levels greater than or equal to 10 µg/dl. The total number of children in that age range with blood lead levels at or above 10 µg/dl was 78, which represents 16% of the children in that age range.

C. Quality Assurance and Quality Control (QA/QC)

The remedial investigation for the Taracorp site followed an approved Quality Assurance Project Plan that included quality assurance objectives for measurement data concerning precision, accuracy, and completeness for the various matrices analyzed. The quality control objectives were intended to be consistent with those established for the USEPA Contract Laboratory Program for inorganic compounds. Any deviations from the QA/QC plan are contained in Appendix E of the RI report. The QA/QC information for Illinois EPA and IDPH samples were not found.

D. Physical and Other Hazards

Most of the on-site physical hazards are restricted to the worker population and consist of those risks common to industrial operations. These include risks of injury or death from falls, burns, crushing injuries, and associated trauma. Vehicular traffic in and around the site may be heavy and pose a risk to workers and pedestrians. The fact that the site is an active operation and fenced serves to discourage trespass; however, open gates and damaged fencing may allow access during periods of inactivity. Abandoned buildings on or next to the site may be attractive to area children or other trespassers.

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