Carnotite Reduction Company
- Chicago, IL (Cook County)
- EPA ID# ILN000510371
- Superfund Site Progress Profile
- Alias(es): Michael Reese properties
Community Involvement Coordinator
Teresa Jones (email@example.com)
312-886-0725 or 800-621-8431, ext. 60725
312-886-3601 or 800-621-8431, ext.6301
Senior Health Physicist
312-886-4591 or 800-621-8431, ext. 64591
Office of Regional Counsel
(firstname.lastname@example.org) 312-886-4683 or 800-621-8431, ext. 64683
312-886-7166 or 800-621-8431, ext. 67166
(where to view written records)
Harold Washington Library Center
Chicago Public Library
400 S. State St.
Carnotite and Lindsay Light
If you're interested in the Carnotite Reduction Company site, you may be interested to know that EPA has been successfully overseeing the removal of soil that is contaminated with radioactive material in downtown Chicago for more than a decade. This contamination was caused many years ago by the Lindsay Light Company and widely spread throughout the Streeterville neighborhood.
There is another minor connection: at different times in the early years of the 20th century, a man named Herbert N. McCoy was president of both companies. Both processed radioactive ore, but for different reasons.
- Lindsay Light used radioactive thorium in the manufacture of mantles for gas lights.
- The Carnotite Reduction Company processed ore containing Carnotite to manufacture radium.
From about 1915 to at least 1920, the Carnotite Reduction Company operated an elemental radium separation and refining facility in Chicago at 2600 S. Iglehart Place, a street that no longer exists. It is believed Iglehart Place was near what is now Ellis Ave.
This property later became part of the land occupied by the former Michael Reese Hospital. In 1979, the State of Illinois Department of Health, Division of Radiological Health, in cooperation with U.S. EPA, conducted a radiological surface survey of part of the Michael Reese property and located several areas of elevated radioactivity. State personnel concluded that the contamination did not pose an immediate health hazard but should be taken into consideration prior to any future construction.
In September 2008, the owner of Michael Reese filed a petition for bankruptcy protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois. In anticipation of Chicago being selected to host the 2016 Olympic Games, the City of Chicago purchased the 37- acre former Michael Reese property in June 2009. The City planned to develop the property as the site of the Olympic Village. The City's bid for the 2016 Olympic Games, however, proved unsuccessful.
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In October 2013, at the City of Chicago’s request, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency/Division of Nuclear Safety (IEMA) became the lead regulatory agency handling contamination at the Carnotite Site (former Michael Reese Site). The City is working with IEMA to obtain a radioactive material storage license.
- Department of Fleet and Facility Management City of Chicago letter (PDF) (1 pg, 34 K) October 2013
Timeline of EPA involvement
On December 10, 2009, EPA performed a gamma survey of areas of the former Michael Reese/Carnotite site that had not previously been assessed. EPA's survey confirmed the presence of radioactive contamination in the northern end of the former Michael Reese Hospital Campus. This is where the Carnotite Reduction Company was located, although the exact property boundaries of the former company have not been established.
In late 2010 and early 2011, the City of Chicago's contractors surveyed the Michael Reese property areas in conjunction with the demolition of the former hospital's buildings and further identified radioactively contaminated areas.
In June 2012, EPA conducted additional testing the former Michael Reese/Carnotite site, public park lands and parkways, and also at two private properties near the site. EPA testing confirmed the presence of elevated gamma readings at several locations on the site. At the private properties, no elevated gamma radiation or radon was identified inside the buildings. However, one property had elevated gamma readings in a parking lot, which do not pose an immediate health threat as long as the pavement remains intact. EPA advised the owner that the pavement should not be disturbed without radiation monitoring and appropriate health and safety precautions.
- Department of Fleet and Facility Management City of Chicago letter (PDF) (1pp, 34KB) October 2013
- Enforcement Action Memorandum (PDF) (18pp, 1.61MB) December 2011
- Chicago Chemical Bulletin (PDF) (1pp, 198KB) July-August 1917
- Patent No. 3502450 - Composite Structure Welded with Tungsten-Containing Nickel-Base Filler Metal March 1970
- Patent No. 2199696 - Process for the recovery of uranium and vanadium from Carnotite Ores May 1940
- Patent No. 1559113 - Manufacture of Titanium Sulfate October 1925
- Patent No. 1540425 - Art of Making Zirconium Compounds June 1925
- Patent No. 1530139 - Art of Manufacturing Zirconium Compounds March 1925
- Patent No. 1407441 - Recovery of Thorium February 1922
- Patent No. 1366128 - Method of Manufacturing Thorium Nitrate January 1921
- Patent No. 1329747 Art of Recovering Thorium February 1920
- Patent No. 1323735 - Art of Recovering Thorium from Monazite Sands December 1919
- Patent No. 1307152 - Treatment of Thorium Fluorid June 1919
- Patent No. 1292341 - Art of Recovering Radium - United States Patent Office January 1919
- Patent No. 1195698 - Process of Concentrating Carnotite Sandstone August 1916
- Patent No. 1103600 - Method of Treating Radio-Active Barium Compounds July 1914
- Patent No. 1098282 - Process for Treating So-Called Carnotite and Associated and Similar Vanadium and Uranium Minerals May 1914
- Patent No. 1071537 - Globe Support August 1913
Right of Way Survey Reports
EPA has agreed to host a web-based repository of radiation testing reports and other technical documents for the benefit of those conducting work within the rights-of way. These reports allow private utilities companies and city departments to easily check to see if an area has already been tested and determined to be clear of contamination, or if the area has never been investigated and still needs to be tested.