On the border of South Beloit, Illinois and the City of Beloit Wisconsin is a confluence of the Rock River and Turtle Creek.  This location has a unique history, in which it is believed to have been habitation sites for native peoples dating as far back as 13,000 years ago.  The “Late Woodland” people are believed to have built mounds in the region, lived in small villages, and even had a diverse economy that included hunting, fishing, gathering, trading, and plant cultivation.  Several centuries later, in 1837 the New England Emigrating Company purchased a piece of this land, where they founded the City of Beloit. Over time, the 3.2-acre piece of land called “Mary’s Restaurant” has held many different businesses, but is currently a vacant lot.


In July of 2012, Illinois EPA’s Office of Site Evaluation (OSE) began a series of investigations at “Mary’s Restaurant.”  To confirm the presence of underground storage tanks (USTs) at the site, a Genonics EM-61 was used several times over the course of the investigation.  In addition to the metal detector survey, 8 soil samples and 2 groundwater samples were collected in September of 2012 using a geoprobe rig.  Results from the samples showed high concentration levels of Benzene and Xylenes in the soil, indicating potential leakage from USTs on portions of the property.  In February of 2013, Illinois EPA returned to the site to conduct another EM-61 survey on different locations of the property.  However, this survey did not produce any anomalies that would indicate potential USTs on these portions of the property.  For the third time, Illinois EPA conducted another EM-61 investigation in June of 2016 to determine USTs on the property, in which they did not detect any significant amounts of metal nor did they detect the UST they identified in the 2012 investigation.

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Following the results provided from Illinois EPA, a consulting firm was hired by South Beloit to determine the actions necessary to meet Illinois EPA’s regulatory cleanup requirements.  Additional work was done by Illinois EPA’s OSE in October of 2016, where they conducted soil borings and groundwater samples.  Soil samples identified Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in 3/12 taken, and groundwater samples identified 1/6 samples containing VOCs.  Data results revealed no compounds detected at concentrations exceeding regulatory cleanup objectives in both soil and groundwater samples, other than Xylene in a deep soil sample.

Beloit 2020, an organization focused on redevelopment plans on the Rock River, has developed a project called “Nature at the Confluence,” which focuses on an area just 0.2 miles from the “Mary’s Restaurant” location.   With the help and information gathered from Illinois EPA’s OSE over the years, Beloit 2020 is beginning to transform the area centered on the confluence of the Rock River and Turtle Creek from a liability into an asset, in which the floodplain where the Confluence is located is surrounded by blight and contamination.  Beloit 2020 has developed a project called “Nature at the Confluence,” which focuses on this area just 0.2 miles from Mary’s Restaurant.  The hope of this project is to transform this area into a Learning Center with nature trails nearby, and canoe and kayak excursions along the Rock River.