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Ottawa Radiation (Areas 1, 4, 9, 11 and Illinois Power)
Ottawa, Illinois

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Printable Version (PDF) (94 K, 2 pp)

Site Description

The Radium Dial Company operated in Ottawa, IL, from 1920 through 1932, and the Luminous Processes, Inc. (LPI) operated in Ottawa from 1932 to 1978. Both companies used radium sulfate paint in their dial painting operations. During the course of operations at these companies, their equipment, material, buildings, and surrounding work areas became contaminated with radium-226, the major isotope of radium sulfate. Through the years, contaminated waste from both companies was used as fill material at various landfills throughout Ottawa's residential and commercial areas. The Site is divided into 14 sub areas, and cleanup activities are still needed at sites 1, 4, 8, 9, 11 and the Illinois Power project.

Current Site Status and Cleanup Actions to Date

  • In 1985, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (formerly the Illinois Department of Nuclear Safety) demolished the LPI building.
  • Between 1993 and 1997, EPA removed approximately 32,000 cubic yards of radioactive soils and debris from 12 of the 14 sites which were residential properties, or were located near residential areas.
  • In September 2000, U.S. EPA announced the cleanup plan for sites 1, 4, 8, 9 and Illinois Power. The plan involves excavation (PDF) (2 pp, 530 K) and disposal of radium contaminated soil.
  • In 2002, U.S. EPA connected six homes around site 4 to the City of Ottawa municipal water supply because of the levels of beryllium in private wells. EPA also removed 5,400 cubic yards of lead-contaminated soil from sites 1 and 9.
  • The Remedial Design (RD) began in September 2002, and the final design report is tentatively planned to be completed in March 2007.
  • In September 2003, U.S. EPA announced the cleanup plan for site 11 and the Frontage Property to site 8. The plan includes the excavation and disposal of radium contaminated soil.
  • U.S. EPA has held public availability sessions and several public meetings in order to get community input on the cleanup. The community has been supportive of EPA's cleanup recommendations.
  • A public health assessment completed in 2006 by the Illinois Department of Public Health determined that there is not an increase in radium-related cancers in the area.
  • The Remedial Action (RA) will start at sites 1, 9, 11, and Illinois Power in early November 2006.
  • Remedial Investigation (RI) activities are being conducted at the former LPI property and a cleanup plan will be issued in 2007.

Current Funding Status

  • Approximately $40 million has been spent on these projects as of September 2004.
  • In September 2006, EPA allocated approximately $2.4 million for cleanup work at the site.

For more information on the projects at this site, please read the Ottawa Radiation Areas Fact Sheet on the Region 5 Superfund Web site.

Key Accomplishments

  • EPA reduced the risk posed by the sites by conducting removal activities between 1993 and 1997 on 12 of the 14 sites. Approximately 32,000 cubic yards of radioactive soils and debris were removed.
  • In 2002, six homes were connected to the City of Ottawa municipal water supply.
  • The Remedial Design for all of the sites started in 2002 and is anticipated to be completed in March 2007.
  • 37,400 cubic yards of soil and debris have been removed.


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