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.
WHAT IS THE CURRENT SITE
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 resodding the property; and transporting and
disposing any soil that is removed at an approved disposal facility.
In September 2020, U.S. EPA began removing lead
contaminated soil at residential properties in Lyons, Illinois near the former
Taracorp Industries property. Before the 2020 winter season set in, U.S. EPA
completed the cleanup in four residential properties. So far this year it has
completed over 30 residential cleanups. Residents
within the Taracorp Industries Removal Boundary Area were able to request soil
sampling on their properties through August 15, 2021. U.S. EPA received
authorization to sample 119 properties
and estimates about half of those properties may require cleanup. If you have
questions regarding this cleanup site you can contact U.S. EPA’s On Scene
Coordinator, Craig Thomas by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at
312-886-5907; or U.S. EPA’s Community Involvement Coordinator, Adrian Palomeque
at email@example.com or 312-353-2035.