The Taracorp Industries Soil Site consists of the former Taracorp Industries property, which is located at 7753 West 47th Street in McCook, Cook County, Illinois, and an estimated 164 residential properties located between the south-side of 45th Street to the north, Fisherman’s Terrace to the east, 47th Street to the south, and the 7900 blocks of 45th, 46th and 47th streets to the west in Lyons, Cook County, Illinois.
On July 16, 2020, EPA signed an Action Memorandum to conduct a time-critical removal action (TCRA). The TCRA will include removing soil contaminated with lead above the Removal Management Level (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 and seeding or resodding the property; and transporting and disposing any soil that is removed at a CERCLA-approved disposal facility in accordance with EPA's Off-Site Rule (40 CFR § 300.440).
As background, 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. The site was included in the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Information System (now the Superfund Enterprise Management System) in 1980, based on elevated lead levels on the property. Waste material from the property was supposedly removed after Taracorp ceased operations in 1983. A portion of the property was leased for use as a truck terminal and maintenance garage in the 1980s. In 1990, the property was purchased by a construction demolition company. On information and belief, it is currently owned and operated by a trucking company.
In the 1980s, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (Illinois EPA) conducted a Preliminary Assessment and Site Inspection focused on the evaluation of lead concentrations in soil on the Taracorp property. A 2017 Illinois EPA Site Reassessment investigation 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, 7 being above the RML of 400 mg/kg. Based on the results of the Site Reassessment, in November 2017, Illinios EPA referred the Site to EPA to evaluate a possible time-critical removal action for the residential properties because of elevated lead levels.
In June of 2018, EPA began sampling at 24 residential properties whose owners had signed consent to access forms. Sampling continued periodically through November of 2019. A total 58 residential properties were sampled, 28 of which had results that exceeded the EPA RML of 400 mg/kg for lead in the top two feet of soil. EPA estimates that an additional 23 properties that have yet to be sampled will exceed the EPA RML of 400 mg/kg for lead.