This fact sheet describes the status of work at four major sources of groundwater2 contamination found in the Southeast Rockford Groundwater Contamination Superfund5 Site. The map below shows the location of these four major source areas.
Since the 2002 Record of Decision4, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (Illinois EPA) has conducted additional investigations in Source Area 4. The purpose of these investigations was to collect information needed to design the Area 4 remedy specified in the Record of Decision.
Investigation results showed free product1 and contaminated soil near the building and closer to the surface than expected. The Illinois EPA removed 185 cubic yards of this soil on September 15 and 16, 2005. Removing these soils and free product was necessary to prevent human exposure. Removal also has the immediate effect of reducing movement of contaminants off site in groundwater. The contaminated soil was taken to an appropriate off-site disposal facility.
In October 2005, the Illinois EPA installed five additional monitoring wells. One monitoring well was installed on site; two were installed on Marshall Street and two on the northwest side of the drainage ditch.
Within the next month or two, the Illinois EPA will install a temporary system on site to determine the amount of groundwater that will have to be pumped and the rate at which the groundwater will have to be treated. This action is called a pump test and will last from three to six days. At the same time, the Illinois EPA will test the treatment system for the leachate3. This pilot test will last about three weeks. Construction of the remedy is planned for the fall of 2006.
The Illinois EPA has conducted supplemental investigations in Area 7 during 2004 and 2005. The purpose of these investigations was twofold: (1) to define the extent of contamination north of Ekberg/Pine Manor Park and (2) to evaluate the groundwater quality in the planned location of the leachate extraction well system. Information from these investigations will be used to design the remedy.
Investigations included an additional soil gas survey, installation of four new monitoring wells and the collection of subsurface soil samples. The soil gas survey indicated that Area 7 source area extends approximately 100 feet north of Ekberg/Pine Manor Park in the general vicinity of the small valley running north and south.
Soil samples revealed the presence of free product and elevated concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs)6 just north of the park. Additional soil sampling is required to define the extent of subsurface VOC contamination south of the basketball court in the park. Previous investigations and aerial photographs show, however, that subsurface soil contamination stops well before the location of houses in the Pine Manor Subdivision.
Results of the groundwater investigation indicate that the groundwater contamination may extend further to the south than previously believed. This groundwater contamination, however, does not affect the drinking water of those residents connected to the Rockford Public Water Supply. The city of Rockford routinely tests the public water supply wells and water distributed to the public has regularly met all U.S. EPA drinking water standards for contaminants associated with this site. Residents should have received a notice from the city of Rockford about a violation of the U.S. EPA drinking water standard for radium. Radium is naturally occurring and is not associated with the contaminants found at this site. The radium exceedance is slight and the standard is set to be protective of consumption over 70 years. The city has entered into a compliance agreement with the Illinois EPA to demonstrate compliance with the radium standard by 2009.
Actual construction of the remedy depends upon the Agency obtaining access to property not owned by the Park District. The Illinois EPA is continuing to work with the Rockford Park District on issues related to the Remedial Design and Remedial Action in Source Area 7.
Before the finalization of design documents, the Illinois EPA will also consult with Pine Manor Subdivision representatives as promised in the 2002 responsiveness summary. The Illinois EPA will work with the Rockford Park District and the Pine Manor Association in determining the location of the treatment building and the type of construction materials for the building. Since there are several different interests involved, the Illinois EPA cannot guarantee approval rights to any one party but intends to work with both parties to reach an agreement, if possible, that satisfies both, as well as satisfying the goal of an effective remedy.
In a 2003 Administrative Order on Consent, Hamilton Sundstrand agreed to conduct additional investigations in Source Area 9/10 and prepare the design for the Source Area 9/10 remedy designated in the 2002 Record of Decision.
Hamilton Sundstrand has conducted tests on the soils in Area 9/10. Test results show that soil vapor extraction should work well in removing contaminants from the subsurface soil.
If additional methods are used but do not fundamentally alter the Record of Decision, either the U.S. EPA or the Illinois EPA will publish a notice of “Significant Differences” in the local newspaper describing these changes. Fundamental changes to the Record of Decision would require a public comment period on the proposed changes. Fundamental changes in the Record of Decision are not being considered for Area 9/10 or the other source areas of this project.
The Illinois EPA has applied to the U. S. EPA for funds to design the remedy specified for Source Area 11 in the 2002 Record of Decision. This site will have to compete with Superfund sites throughout the nation for the limited amount of Superfund dollars available. If money is available, the Illinois EPA will begin design of the Area 11 remedy in 2006.
1Free product: A phase of a chemical in groundwater. When a contaminant is present in high enough concentrations, it does not dissolve in the water. Rather, if it is lighter than water (like oil), it will float on top of the water. If it is heavier than water, it will sink through the water until it comes to barrier such as rock or clay.
2Groundwater: Water beneath the ground surface.
3Leachate: Water that has passed through waste and picked up contaminants present in the waste. In this fact sheet, the term leachate refers to all contaminated groundwater within the groundwater management zone boundary that is established for each source area.
4Record of Decision: A public document that explains which remedies will be used to clean up a Superfund site. The U.S. EPA and the Illinois EPA made the decisions about the remedies for the four major source areas for this project after carefully considering all public comments received during the public comment period. A copy of the Record of Decision for the four source areas is located in the site repository at the Rock River Branch of the Rockford Public Library.
5Superfund: The common name given to sites on the National Priorities List (NPL). The NPL is a list of the nation’s most hazardous sites that are eligible for investigation and, if necessary, a remedy under the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act. The Southeast Rockford Groundwater Contamination Site was placed on the NPL in 1989.
6Volatile organic compounds (VOCs): A class of chemical compounds that are volatile and contain carbon. Volatile means the compounds vaporize (evaporate) readily at normal indoor/outdoor temperatures. The compounds are called organic because they contain carbon. The main contaminants found at this site are industrial solvents and their breakdown products. These chemicals are categorized as volatile organic compounds.
For more information about the project including fact sheets on the remedial investigation results, feasibility studies and proposed plans for each of the four major source areas, you may contact the Illinois EPA staff listed below:
Repositories: Full reports for the project may be reviewed at the following locations.
Administrative record file: The administrative record file is located at the Illinois EPA headquarters in Springfield, Illinois. Call 217/782-9878 for an appointment. The administrative record file will also be located on microfiche at the Main Branch of the Rockford Public Library at 215 N. Wyman in Rockford.