Mobile and Ohio Railyard Site

Former Greenberg Salvage Property

Fact Sheet #1
October 1999

Murphysboro, Illinois

Introduction

Cox Trucking, located in Murphysboro, Illinois, was issued a Violation Notice by the Jackson County Health Department in December 1998. Materials from drums were reportedly discarded on property located at the northeast corner of the intersection of 19th and Gartside Streets. Soil samples taken from the area where the drums were dumped showed elevated levels of lead apparently not related to the drum contents. The lead contamination was found on the property (2.34 acres of land) that Cox Trucking previously purchased from a former salvage yard to provide additional parking for their trucking operation.

Site History

Properties on both the north and south side of Gartside Street were previously operated as the Greenberg Junkyard. Battery plates and other debris left from this operation suggest that the lead contamination was deposited in this area from a battery cracking operation. Earlier in this century, this property was part of the rail yard in Murphysboro.

What type of environmental investigations are going on at this site?

In February 1999, Cox Trucking entered the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency's (Illinois EPA) Site Remediation Program to address residual soil contamination. This Program allows property owners to conduct environmental investigations and remedial activities with Illinois EPA oversight.

Illinois EPA investigated the site at the request of the Jackson County Health Department and Cox Trucking's environmental consultant. In June 1999, soil testing was conducted at a 1.5 acre portion of the site located north of Gartside Street to determine the extent of surface contamination for total metals. This investigation revealed elevated levels of lead.

Off-site sampling began in August 1999 revealing that the portion of the former Greenberg Salvage property south of Gartside Street also has elevated levels of lead. In addition, approximately 20 feet of public right-of-way land between a fence constructed by Cox Trucking and Gartside Street shows high levels of lead.

Why was a fence installed around the former junkyard property?

At the same time, approximately 40 residential yards were sampled. Soil sample results showed that elevated levels of lead, and, in addition, elevated levels of polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were found on some properties along Meadow and Glover Lanes.

The Illinois EPA has determined that the former Greenberg Salvage property poses an immediate danger to human health and the environment. Private residences are adjacent to the former Greenberg Salvage property and public access to the contaminated area was not restricted. Therefore, the Illinois EPA imposed a seal order on the areas of concern. These areas have been fenced off from public access.

Sealing this property has:

  • prevented direct contact between unprotected individuals and hazardous wastes and substances at the site; and
  • preserved the site as completely as possible from any unauthorized action or entry until a removal action can take place.

What is being done now?

The Illinois Department of Public Health reviewed the residential sampling results and determined the health risks associated with exposure to soil in the residential yards. Homeowners were sent a letter of explanation regarding their individual laboratory results and the associated health risks.

Illinois EPA is currently reviewing remediation options on the Greenberg property to conduct a removal action. At the same time, the seal order imposed the construction of a fence around the two areas previously discussed. On-going investigations will continue in the nearby residential areas and on the site.

The Jackson County Health Department has offered to conduct blood lead sampling for children in this area.

For Additional Information

The City of Murphysboro, the Illinois EPA, the Illinois Department of Public Health, and the Jackson County Health Department will be holding two public availability sessions from 2:00-4:00 and 6:30-8:30 p.m. on October 15, 1999 (Friday), at City Hall, 202 North 11" Street, Murphysboro, Illinois, 62966. Representatives from the city, county, state, and local government agencies will be on hand to discuss and answer questions about the site investigation and soil sampling results; health concerns and exposure to hazardous substances; remediation efforts and site assessment; and blood lead sampling for children. Representatives will meet with the media a half-hour prior to the afternoon session.

If you have any questions about the site or the upcoming availability sessions, you may contact:

Mark Densmore
Remedial Project Manager
Illinois EPA
217/785-8725
Michelle Tebrugge
Community Relations Coordinator
Illinois EPA
217/524-4825
Lynn Stone
Toxicologist
Illinois Department of Public Health
618/993-7010
Kevin Gillespie
Director of Environmental Health
Jackson County Health Department
618/684-3143