- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a 60-day public comment period on a proposed $22.6 million cleanup project for a former DuPont industrial area in East Chicago, IN. The agency is holding a public meeting Jan 10.
- EPA has proposed removing more than 61,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil and replacing it with clean soil, installing a one-foot-thick permeable soil cover, treating groundwater to reduce sulfates, taking steps to prevent groundwater contaminated with arsenic from migrating off site and receiving financial assurances from the site owner.
- EPA's proposed plan covers the western, 265-acre portion of the 440-acre site, as reported by The Northwest Indiana Times. The eastern portion is already under a separate, long-term monitoring project.
The DuPont site in East Chicago is just south of the USS Lead Superfund site that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt visited in April. The DuPont site itself, however, is a separate project and is not listed on the National Priorities List, though it is seen as a possible cause of groundwater contamination at the USS Lead site — and has been listed as a hazardous site under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act since 1997.
Since Pruitt's April visit, the EPA has worked to remove contaminated soil and provided dust cleanup for some homes located on the USS Lead site. Pruitt has promised that the federal government would continue to coordinate on current and future cleanup at contaminated sites in East Chicago. His previously stated commitment to East Chicago could be a sign that the DuPont site will get quick remediation if the proposed plan is approved.
This action fits in with the administrator's pattern of making site cleanups a priority. He announced a directive to prioritize cleanups, and his agency has promised to make more progress in addressing the infamous West Lake Landfill Superfund site.
However, since announcing his intention to create a "top 10" list of Superfund sites to tackle aggressively in July, Pruitt has yet to announce those sites. While the agency has made concrete steps in remediation, there is clearly work yet left to be done if Pruitt wants to fulfill his promises.