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EPA Finishes Slag Cleanup At Kokomo Recovery Act Site

Release Date: 10/14/2010
Contact Information: Jayna Legg, (312) 353-0562. Legg.jayna@epa.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
No. 10-OPA123

CHICAGO (October 14, 2010) – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 said today that the cleanup of the former slag processing area of the Continental Steel Superfund site in Kokomo, Ind., has been completed two years ahead of schedule thanks to funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The overall cleanup effort at the Continental Steel site is managed in consultation with Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

In April 2009, EPA received $5.9 million in funding via the Recovery Act to clean up two portions of the 183-acre Superfund site: the former slag processing area and contaminated ground water. The money was part of $600 million appropriated by Congress to address 51 different Superfund sites, and it accelerated hazardous waste cleanup already under way at this site by more than two years. A total of 15 Indiana contractors or subcontractors were involved in the ARRA-funded work, creating at least 45 temporary jobs.

The slag processing cleanup started in September 2009 and entailed moving about 86,000 tons of slag for use as fill at the acid lagoon area and grading, capping and seeding the area. The result is land suitable for potential redevelopment. Recovery Act funds also are being used to treat ground water contamination sources, monitor and remove contaminated ground water and send it off-site for treatment and disposal.

Prior to the new Recovery Act funding, EPA spent more than $66 million on cleanup activities at the site. IDEM has spent about $6 million. Previous cleanup work included tear-down of the main plant buildings and excavation and disposal of heavily contaminated soil and waste piles in that area, and dredging and disposal of contaminated sediment from the Kokomo and Wildcat creeks and Markland Avenue quarry.

Other current work at the site:
• Backfilling and capping of the Markland Avenue quarry was completed this August.
• The Acid Lagoon old water treatment plant — the last remaining structure on the site —was demolished this August.
• Acid Lagoon and groundwater remedial action is ongoing and is expected to be completed in 2012.

Continental Steel operated on the site from about 1914 to 1986 when it filed for bankruptcy. A major local employer, the facility produced nails, wire and fencing from scrap metal. The site was added to EPA’s Superfund National Priorities List in 1989. The Superfund program was created in 1980 to clean up uncontrolled hazardous waste sites that pose unacceptable risks to human health and the environment.

President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act on Feb. 17, 2009, and has directed the Recovery Act be implemented with unprecedented transparency and accountability. To that end, the American people can see how every dollar is being invested at http://www.recovery.gov.

For more information on the Continental Steel Superfund site, see http://www.epa.gov/superfund/eparecovery/continental_steel.html.

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