Community Involvement Coordinator
312-886-0725 or 800-621-8431, ext. 60725
Remedial Project Manager
312-353-2315 or 800-621-8431, ext. 32315
On Scene Coordinator
Illinois Department of Public Health
Illinois Department of Public Health
(where to view written records)
Hartford Public Library
143 W. Hawthorne
Chemetco was a secondary copper smelting facility which operated from 1970 to 2001. Mainly they produced copper cathodes and anodes. The company owned more than 230 acres of land; however, the smelting operation occupied about 41 acres of the property.
The Chemetco Superfund site is located in Chouteau Township, just south of the Village of Hartford, in Madison County, Illinois. The 41-acre smelter site is currently fenced and access to the site is restricted by order of the Illinois EPA.
On Sept. 18, 1996, Illinois EPA discovered a discharge pipe during an inspection of Chemetco. The pipe ran to the south to a tributary of Long Lake, and generally parallel to Illinois Route 3. The pipe appeared to be a 10-inch line and was illegally discharging zinc oxide to a drainage ditch just south of the facility. It is believed this discharge had been going on for 10 years before it was discovered. Samples collected from the outfall area showed high levels of cadmium, copper, lead and zinc.
After the discovery, Chemetco was required to clean up the area. While digging up the area, layers of zinc oxide material were found to a depth of 6 feet in nearby Long Lake.
On October 31, 2001, the facility shut down and on November 13, 2001 Chemetco filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. At that time, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Illinois appointed a trustee to oversee the property. On December 7, 2001, Illinois EPA issued an order that restricts public access to most of the site and prohibits anyone except authorized personnel from entering the site.
The Chemetco site was placed on the National Priorities list in March 2010.
You will need the free Adobe Reader to view some of the files on this page. See EPA's PDF page to learn more.
Since 2008, under an Interim Order with the State of Illinois, the Bankruptcy Trustee and Paradigm Minerals & Environmental Services, a prospective purchaser for the site acting as a performing contractor, have made numerous improvements to the site. They demolished and scrapped the main foundry building and the interior of the tank house. This involved the salvage of over 3,700 tons of metals associated with the former structures and disposal of over 26,000 gallons of oils and liquids in addition to over 1,100 tons of waste. The Foundry building had housed the smelting furnaces that Chemetco used and was the largest building on the site. The old American Air Filter system area and the bag-house structures were also demolished. The demolition project was completed in December 2011 with oversight from Illinois EPA and EPA. The Bankruptcy Trustee also executed asset sales that significantly reduced the presence of over 11,000 tons and 4,000 gallons of potentially contaminated source material. The trustee sold three of the facility’s four furnaces and “clean-closed” two RCRA solid waste management units at the facility (the American Air Filter System and Brick Shop).
Under the consent order, signed in September 2013, the Bankruptcy Trustee is attempting to reprocess the 900,000 tons of slag material on site into metals suitable for recycling. A portion of the profits received from this effort will be used to pay off debts and settle their liability to the Superfund Cleanup at Chemetco. The preparatory work on the reprocessing system has begun and completion of the full process is anticipated to take up to five years.
EPA intends to negotiate with PRPs to reach an agreement for performing a Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study (RI/FS) for the Chemetco site. The RI/FS will define the nature and extent of contamination at the site and evaluate options for cleaning it up.
- February 2014: EPA held a PRP informational meeting on February 20 to give a site overview and answer questions about the recent Special Notice Letter and plans for the RI/FS negotiations. EPA sent a SNL to Owner/Operator and Transporter PRPs on February 26. The moratorium dates have been extended for all PRPs to April 28 for submittal of a good faith offer (GFO), with a 30-day extension of the moratorium, based on receipt of a GFO, to May 27. EPA expects signature of the AOC no later than May 27, 2014.
- January 2014: EPA sent Special Notice Letters to about 475 potentially responsible parties (PRPs) to begin negotiations for the performance of the remedial investigation with EPA oversight.
- December 2013: EPA held two community involvement information sessions at the Hartford Community Center. The EPA introduced the community to the various options for community involvement at Superfund Sites.
- October 2013: A cleanup is underway at the former Chemetco Inc. smelter to remove slag material from the site. Contractors for the Chemetco Bankruptcy Estate are conducting the cleanup under supervision of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, using its authority under the Superfund law.
Contract workers plan to process the slag into recyclable metals, which will be sold to help pay off the Estate’s debts, including its obligation to the Superfund Cleanup Program to clean the rest of the site.
- August 2013: EPA held a public meeting about the consent decree. The federal and state governments agreed to the decree with the Chemetco bankruptcy trustee and its work contractor, Paradigm. The decree calls for an interim cleanup plan at the site.
- March 2013, EPA and the Data Group have met four times in collaboration on revising the Materials-In Database, which is a tool for establishing and allocating liability for investigation and/or cleanup costs.
- In 2012, EPA and a limited group of PRPs (the Data Group) met three times to address site records issues, such as preservation and security. With support from the Estate of Chemetco and in collaboration with EPA, the Data Group consolidated, inventoried, and secured records and files left at the facility so that they can be safely preserved.
- Cleanup of Slag Begins At Former Copper Smelter (PDF) (2pp, 140K) October 2013
- Legal Agreement Requires Smelter Cleanup Work (PDF) (2pp, 102K) August 2013
Remedial Legal Documents
- Signed Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study, Order and Statement of Work (PDF) (234p, 16MB) February 3, 2015
- Supporting Data for 1/21/2014 Special Notice Letter Mailing (PDF) (934pp, 4.3MB) Jan 21, 2014
- Special Notice Letter - Owner/Operators and Transporter (PDF) (9pp, 186KB) February 26, 2014
- SNL O/O and T, Enclosure 7(PDF) (1pp, 82KB) February 26, 2014
- EPA SREA Guidance (PDF) (29 pp, 264KB)
- PRP Informational Session - Chemetco Superfund Site (PDF) (26 pp, 1.2 MB) Feb. 20, 2014
- Special Notice Letter (SNL) (PDF) (8pp, 375K) Jan 2014
- SNL Enclosure 1 – Draft AOC (PDF)(44pp, 351 K)Jan 2014
- SNL Enclosure 2 – RIFS SOW (PDF)(33pp, 385 K)Jan 2014
- SNL Enclosure 3 – Cost Summary thru Dec. 31, 2013 (PDF)(87pp, 167 K)
- SNL Enclosure 4 – PRP Address List (PDF)(10pp, 451 K)
- SNL Enclosure 5 – PRP Ranking by Weight and Protocol (PDF)(89pp, 640K)
- SNL Enclosure 6 – Contact Designation Form (PDF)(1pp,18K)
- PRP Transactional Data (PDF) (934pp, 4.4MB)
- PRP Search Meta Data (PDF)(4pp, 87K)
Remedial Technical Documents
- Expanded Site Inspection (PDF) (103pp, 2.4MB) - January 2009
- CERCLA Expanded Site Inspection (PDF) (56pp, 5MB) - September 2002
- Chemetco Community Involvement Plan (PDF) (26pp, 13K) - June 2011
- ATSDR Health Consultation for the Chemetco site - April 2004
Removal Technical Documents
- Public Meeting Presentation (PDF)(33pp, 2.8MB) August 6, 2013
- Removal Action Presentation by Kevin Turn, US EPA OSC (PDF) (17pp, 1.2MB) - August 6, 2013
- Consent Decree (PDF) (114pp, 3.0MB) September 13, 2013
- To request copies of the responses to EPA’s Information Requests, please contact the Remedial Project Manager