Taracorp Industries Soil Site

 
Site Contact:
Craig Thomas
OSC

(thomas.craig@epa.gov)

Site Location:
Lyons, IL 60534
response.epa.gov/TaracorpIndustriesSoils

BACKGROUND
The Taracorp Industries Soil Site consists of the former Taracorp property at 7753 West 47th St. in McCook, Cook County, Illinois, and approximately 164 residential properties located between the south-side of 45th St. to the north, Fisherman’s Terrace to the east, 47th St. to the south, and the 7900 blocks of 45th, 46th and 47th streets to the west in Lyons, Cook County, Illinois.

The Taracorp Industries facility was a secondary lead smelter that operated from 1979 through 1983. Prior to Taracorp’s operations, the same facility was operated by National Lead Industries, Inc. beginning in the mid-1960s. Historical Records suggest that waste material from the property was removed after Taracorp ceased operations in 1983.

In the 1980s a portion of the property was leased as a truck terminal and maintenance garage. In 1990, the property was purchased by a construction demolition company. The property is currently owned and operated by a trucking company.

WHAT HAS BEEN DONE TO CLEAN UP THE SITE?
In the 1980s, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (Illinois EPA) conducted a Preliminary Assessment and Site Inspection on the Taracorp property to evaluate lead concentrations in soil. Based on the elevated lead levels found on the property, the site was included in the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Information System, now known as the Superfund Enterprise Management System.

In 2017, Illinois EPA performed a Site Reassessment investigation that included the former Taracorp property, as well as neighboring residential properties in Lyons, Illinois. X-ray fluorescence (XRF) screening and fixed laboratory results for the nearby residential properties found that lead was present in soil at concentrations ranging from 157 mg/kg to 970 mg/kg. Seven of the properties were above U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA)’s Removal Management Level (RML) of 400 mg/kg. Based on the results of the Site Reassessment, in November 2017, Illinois EPA referred the site to U.S. EPA to evaluate whether a soil residential cleanup, known as time-critical removal action was needed for residential properties.

In June of 2018, U.S. EPA began sampling soil at 24 residential properties whose owners had signed access agreement forms. Sampling continued through 2019 and a total 58 residential properties were sampled. Results showed that 28 of the 58 properties exceeded the U.S. EPA’s RML of 400 mg/kg for lead in the top two feet of soil.

In July 2020, U.S. EPA signed an Action Memorandum to conduct a time-critical removal action (TCRA) in the area. The TCRA consists of removing soil contaminated with lead above the RML of 400 mg/kg within the top two feet; conducting pre- and post-excavation property assessments to ensure properties are properly restored; replacing excavated soil with clean soil; seeding or re-sodding the property; and transporting and disposing any soil that is removed at an approved disposal facility.

WHAT IS THE CURRENT SITE STATUS?
In September 2020, U.S. EPA began removing lead contaminated soil at residential properties near the former Taracorp Industries property and that year completed the cleanup in four residential properties. In 2021, before the winter season set in, U.S. EPA performed the cleanup of 49 residential properties, completing the excavation, soil-backfill and restoration of 53 properties  since the start of U.S. EPA’s removal project. U.S. EPA will continue the residential soil cleanup this spring and is planning to clean 18 additional properties already identified and any additional properties where sampling indicates lead exceeds the RML. If you have questions regarding this cleanup site you can contact U.S. EPA’s On Scene Coordinator, Craig Thomas by email at thomas.craig@epa.gov, or by phone at 312-886-5907; or U.S. EPA’s Community Involvement Coordinator, Adrian Palomeque at palomeque.adrian@epa.gov or 312-353-2035.