Southeast Rockford

Source Area 4
Limited Environmental Investigation

Southeast Rockford Groundwater Contamination Superfund Project

April 1996

Rockford, Illinois

Background

Within the next several weeks, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) will collect soil and soil gas (air beneath ground surface) samples in and near Area 4 of the Southeast Groundwater Contamination Superfund Project.

Why is the IEPA conducting this work?

During the past four years, the IEPA has been investigating possible sources of industrial solvents found in southeast Rockford private wells and one municipal well. This investigation has shown that within Area 4 and three other areas are major sources of the groundwater (water beneath the ground) contamination.

In 1991, the IEPA and the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) connected all eligible homes and businesses with private wells that violated public water supply standards to the Rockford Public Water Supply. In 1995, the IEPA and the USEPA proposed, and the public supported a two-part remedy for the contaminated groundwater. First, residences and businesses with drinking water wells that may be affected by the contamination within the next 70 years will be connected to the Rockford Water Supply. Second, remedies for the sources will be selected (after public comment) to prevent or minimize ongoing releases of contamination to the groundwater.

The IEPA has substantial information about the Area 4 source but needs additional information before proposing a remedy for the area. The upcoming sampling will determine the northeastern, eastern, and southern boundaries of Area 4 contamination.

Questions About Drinking Water

Is the Rockford Public Water Supply safe to drink?

Yes. The Rockford Public Water Supply is regularly tested for the solvents found in groundwater, and water that violates public water supply standards is not distributed to the public.

Is Barrette Mobile Home Park connected to the Rockford Public Water Supply?

No, not at this time. The IEPA and the USEPA are committed to providing Barretts Mobile Home Park with a connection to the Rockford Public Water Supply. If funding is available, this connection is scheduled for late this year.

Is Barretts Mobile Home Park water safe to drink until the Rockford Public Water Supply connections are made?

Yes, in the short term. The Barrette Mobile Home Park water does contain two chemicals at levels slightly greater than the public water supply standards. The standards are set to protect people who drink the water for 70 years. The December 1995 results for these two chemicals in parts per billion (ppb) were as follows:

ChemicalWell #1Well #2Public Water Supply Standard
Trichloroethylene
11ppb
11ppb
5ppb
1,1-Dichloroethylene
7.2ppb
7.6ppb
7ppb

Barretts is required to monitor their wells every three months. If concentrations increase to a level where they would be considered a possible health threat from short term exposure, the USEPA will take action to provide safe drinking water to the mobile home park residents. .Concentrations found now are below levels that would pose a health threat from short term exposure, but if you feel uncomfortable drinking water from Barretts' water supply you may purchase drinking water at your own expense.

Will residents be required to pay for the public water connections?

The cost of laying water mains down the streets and individual connections from the street to the individual homes and businesses will be paid by either the IEPA and USEPA or parties who have been determined to be responsible for the contamination. In the past, the City of Rockford has waived the hookup fee so the only expense to the resident should be the monthly water bill.

When will these public water connections be made?

If funding is available, the IEPA and USEPA plan to connect Barrette Mobile Home Park to the Rockford Public Water Supply late this year. The date of public water connections, however, is dependent upon the source of funding. Currently this project is funded by the federal Superfund program, and the authorization for collecting funds for this program expired December 31, 1995. There are sufficient funds remaining from the 1995 budget to conduct the remaining investigations, but there may be no new federal money to fund the public water connections until the Congress reauthorizes the Superfund program.

If responsible parties pay for the public water connections, the schedule will depend on the progress of negotiations with these parties. These negotiations are still in progress so their outcome is unknown at this time.

Questions About Soil Gas Samples

Why are soil gas samples being collected near Area 4?

The industrial solvents found in the wells and Area 4 are in a group of chemicals called volatile organic compounds (VOC) which means the chemicals vaporize or evaporate readily at room temperature. Soil gas samples are samples of gas (air) withdrawn from beneath ground surface. These samples will be analyzed for compounds that may have vaporized from the groundwater, contaminated soil, or buried material into the air pockets above the water table. The sample results will show how far vapors may have moved under ground from Area 4.

Am I or my family exposed to significant concentrations of VOC vapors?

No VOCs were detected in the outdoor air samples. If vapors are present in high concentrations beneath one's home, it is possible for the vapors to come up into the house through sump pits and cracks in the foundation. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and IEPA have sampled air from basements near Area 4 and to date no compounds have been detected in basement air above levels that would cause a health concern. These VOCs are found in common household products such as paints, glues, and cleaners so most homes have low levels. The IEPA may collect additional basement air samples, if soil gas samples indicate that additional samples are needed.

Questions About Soil Samples

Why is the IEPA sampling soil beneath the surface?

The IEPA is collecting soil beneath the surface to determine if VOCs are present in a concentrated liquid form in addition to the dissolved form found in the air or groundwater beneath Area 4.

Has the surface soil near Area 4 been tested.

Yes. To date, tests of surface soil indicate that no contaminants are present at levels that cause a health concern.

Next Steps

What happens after the IEPA completes their investigations?

After the investigation is complete, the IEPA and USEPA will evaluate a number of possible remedies and propose, for public comment, a remedy for the source of contamination in Area 4.

When will the remedy for the source of contamination in Area 4 be implemented?

The schedule for implementation of the Area 4 remedy is also dependent upon funding. Work funded by federal funds is dependent upon reauthorization of the Superfund law by Congress. Work funded by responsible parties is dependent upon successful completion of negotiations with these parties.

Who are the responsible parties?

In 1992, based upon responses to requests for information, the USEPA notified seven companies of their potential liability for the Southeast Groundwater Contamination Superfund Project. The USEPA also demanded reimbursement for funds spent thus far on the site. The seven companies are Sundstrand Corporation, Borg-Warner Corporation, Rockford Products Corporation, Erhardt & Leimer, Inc., Gordon Bartels Co., Suntec Industries, Inc., and Estwing Manufacturing Co. This list may change as more information is gathered.

For Additional Information:

More information on the Southeast Rockford Groundwater Contamination Superfund Project may be found in project repositories located at:

Rockford Public Library
Rock River Branch
3134 11th Street
815/398-7514
(Call ahead for library hours)

Ken-Rock Community Center
3218 11th Street
815/398-8864

The Administrative Record File is on microfiche at:

Rockford Public Library
Main Branch
(215 North Wyman)

For other information contact:

Tammy Mitchell
Community Relations Coord.
Illinois EPA
1021 N. Grand Ave. E.
Box 19276
Springfield, Illinois 62794-9276
Phone: (217) 524-2292
Thomas Williams
Project Manager
Illinois EPA
1021 N. Grand Ave. E.
Box 19276
Springfield, Illinois 62794-9276
Phone: (815) 223-1714

Technical Assistance Grants

(Citizen groups desiring technical assistance in interpreting data from this investigation may be eligible for a technical assistance grant (TAG). The TAG is a USEPA program which provides up to $50,000 per site to community groups wishing to hire consultants to interpret data generated during a Superfund investigation. Twenty percent of the total funding amount must be provided by the group. These funds may be paid in cash and/or by using in?kind services. TAGS cannot be used to duplicate field or lab work. Their purpose is to give the public a better understanding of existing documents and site activities. 'Municipalities, other governmental agencies, political subdivisions, potentially responsible parties, academic institutions, and headquarters of public interest groups are not eligible to receive TAGs. However, members of these groups may belong to a community organization requesting a TAG. Further information about TAG is available by contacting:

Susan Pastor
TAG Coordinator
USEPA P-19J
Office of Public Affairs
77 West Jackson
Chicago, Illinois 60604
Telephone, 1-800-621-8431.