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Recovery Act funding jumpstarts OMC cleanup; accelerates Waukegan's redevelopment plans

Release Date: 02/19/2010
Contact Information: Mike Joyce, 312-353-5546, joyce.mike@epa.gov Anne Rowan, 312-353-9391, rowan.anne@epa.gov

For Immediate Release
No. 10-OPA 016

(CHICAGO - Feb. 19, 2010) Cleanup work made possible with $18.5 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds is now under way at the Plant 2 portion of the Outboard Marine Corp. Superfund site in Waukegan, Ill. OMC is one of 51 Superfund sites across the nation to benefit from Recovery Act funding.

“Thanks to the Recovery Act, the City of Waukegan can accelerate its own ambitious plans for lakefront and harbor redevelopment,” said Mathy Stanislaus, U.S. EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Solid Waste and Emergency Response. “As we mark the one year anniversary of the Recovery Act, this Plant 2 project demonstrates how these funds are stimulating economic activity in communities across the country.”

OMC declared bankruptcy in 2000 and legally abandoned the Plant 2 property in 2002. The city of Waukegan now owns the Plant 2 property.

Current work includes interior work to remove asbestos-containing materials from Plant 2. After the asbestos is removed, the 600,000 square-foot PCB (polychlorinated biphenyl)-contaminated building will be demolished. The project is managed by U.S. EPA Region 5 in consultation with Illinois EPA.

"We are happy that we can finally move forward with the removal of the dangerous industrial pollutants from our lakefront," said Waukegan Mayor Robert Sabonjian. "We are grateful to our partners from the U.S. EPA, Illinois EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers for their expertise in getting this project moving full speed ahead. This effort brings clear direction and focus for the redevelopment plans of our most valuable asset into a destination for new residential, recreational and commercial opportunities."

Among the subcontractors now on-site: Tecnica Environmental Services (asbestos abatement) and Brandenburg Industrial Service Co. (building demolition), both of Chicago. SulTRAC, EPA’s general contractor, is now reviewing bids for selection of subcontractors for additional phases of work. Future work will include removal of the concrete foundation and site soil. The entire Plant 2 demolition project should be completed by the end of the year.

OMC’s Plant 2 facility discharged PCB-containing hydraulic and lubricating oils into Waukegan Harbor in the 1960s and 1970s. Waukegan Harbor flows into Lake Michigan. PCBs are a group of toxic chemicals that were widely used by industry as coolants, insulators and lubricants. PCBs are of concern because they concentrate in the food chain resulting in health hazards to people, fish and wildlife. Congress banned the manufacture of PCBs in 1976, and PCBs still in use are strictly regulated

For information on the Outboard Marine Superfund Site please visit: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/eparecovery/outboard_marine.html.

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