DEPUE, Ill. (AP) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says work is expected to begin later this year to clean up contaminated soil on residential yards in a northern Illinois town where a zinc smelter and fertilizer plant once operated, after a delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The EPA issued an order earlier this year requiring the cleanup of a portion of the New Jersey Zinc/Mobil Chemical Corp. site in DePue, a village about 100 miles (160 kilometers) southwest of Chicago, along a lake where the the Illinois River turns south. It is nearly surrounded by the 950-acre site, which is contaminated with elevated levels of zinc, lead, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, copper, and manganese.
The location was originally developed in 1905 as a primary zinc smelter by the Mineral Point Zinc Company and was operated continuously in various capacities until 1989.
State and federal environmental agencies set a goal of having sampling and cleanup in residential yards completed this spring. But the work was temporarily suspended due to Gov. Pritzker’s order to stop non-essential work and shelter in place, according to the EPA.