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Peoples Gas to investigate 11 Chicago sites for manufactured gas plant contamination

Release Date: 06/07/2007
Contact Information: Mick Hans, 312-353-5050, hans.mick@epa.gov Mike Joyce, 312-353-5546, joyce.mike@epa.gov (Illinois EPA) Maggie Carson, 217-558-1536

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
No. 07-OPA095

(Chicago, Ill. - June 7, 2007) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 today announced it has entered into an agreement with Peoples Gas for the company to investigate 11 former manufactured gas plant sites in Chicago.

Under the agreement, Peoples Gas will investigate the extent and nature of contamination on each of the sites, and then evaluate potential cleanup options. This process is expected to continue through 2009. Final cleanup determinations will be made by EPA, in consultation with Illinois EPA, the City of Chicago and area residents.

"Peoples Gas deserves credit for stepping forward with a plan that will help solve this long-term problem," said Regional Administrator Mary A. Gade. "Addressing those 11 sites under a single agreement should also get properties cleaned up faster."

All of the properties covered by the agreement are relatively close to the Chicago River, which was a transportation route when the MGP facilities operated. MGPs produced gas from coal from the mid-19th through the mid-20th centuries. After World War II, coal gas was phased out and replaced with natural gas for cooking and heating. Waste from MGP operations includes tar, oil, cinders and coke (coal residue). The material contains polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons, volatile organic compounds and heavy metals such as arsenic and lead.

Four of the MGP sites are clustered near Goose Island on the north side and five are on the south side along the river between Halsted St. and Ashland Ave.

The complete list of sites, with names referencing former MGP "stations":

Near Goose Island

  • Division St. Station, 1241 W. Division St.
  • North Station, an area bounded by North Crosby Street, West Division Street, West Hobbie Street and the North Branch Canal
  • Willow Street Station, west of intersection of Willow Street and North Kingsbury Street
  • Hawthorne Avenue Station, northwest corner of intersection of North Marcey Street and West Willow Street
    (Willow and Hawthorne Stations are on opposite sides of North Kingsbury Street)

Also north
  • North Shore Avenue Station, an area bounded by Kedzie Avenue, Whipple Street, Albion Avenue and North Shore Avenue

Near Ashland Ave./Halsted St.
  • 22nd Street Station, 2200 S. Racine Ave.
  • Hough Place Station, 2500 S. Corbett St.
  • Pitney Court Station, 3052 Pitney Court
  • South Station and Throop Station, approximately 2500 South, between South Throop Street and South Lock Street

Also south
  • Crawford Station, 3500 S. Pulaski Ave.

Some excavation of contaminated soil is already under way at portions of three of the sites under Illinois EPA's voluntary cleanup program: 22nd Street, Hough Place and Pitney Court. This cleanup will continue under EPA and Illinois EPA oversight while the investigative work proceeds

A Chicago map with the sites identified is online: www.epa.gov/region5/sites/peoplesgas/ .

If there is public interest in the project, EPA will schedule meetings. Questions may be directed to Community Involvement Coordinator Mike Joyce, 312-353-5546, or joyce.mike@epa.gov.
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