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Carnotite Reduction Company

Site Information
Contact Information

Community Involvement Coordinator
Teresa Jones (jones.teresa@epa.gov)
312-886-0725 or 800-621-8431, ext. 60725

On-Scene Coordinator
Verneta Simon
(simon.verneta@epa.gov)
312-886-3601 or 800-621-8431, ext.6301

Senior Health Physicist
Gene Jablonowski
(jablonowski.eugene@epa.gov)
312-886-4591 or 800-621-8431, ext. 64591

Office of Regional Counsel
Attorneys
Mary Fulghum
(fulghum.mary@epa.gov) 312-886-4683 or 800-621-8431, ext. 64683
Cathleen Martwick
(martwick.cathleen@epa.gov)
312-886-7166 or 800-621-8431, ext. 67166

Repositories

(where to view written records)

Harold Washington Library Center
Chicago Public Library
400 S. State St.
Chicago, IL

Background

Carnotite and Lindsay Light

Lindsay Light Co. sites

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.

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.

Site Updates | Latest Update | Technical Documents


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Site Updates

April 2014

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.

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. 

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Technical Documents

U.S. Patents

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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.




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