Steel originally started rolling these grounds over 150 years ago, when horseshoes were fabricated for the Union Army during the Civil War. The factory, located near the banks of the Des Plaines River and at the north end of Joliet, reportedly continued to supply the US Cavalry into the 1960s. Following several ownership transfers, most recently to a large Brazilian steel firm, the 30-acre metal products fabricating site then sat empty for several years. Until 2017 that is, when an innovative redeveloper that specializes in repurposing contaminated properties contracted Pioneer to provide environmental assessment, remediation and site closure services for the vacated industrial site.
After preliminary investigation activities that identified various environmental concerns associated with the historical industrial operations, the property was enrolled in the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Site Remediation Program (SRP) and a comprehensive investigation was performed to fully evaluate the site in accordance with Illinois EPA regulations. This assessment also included an evaluation of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) under US EPA guidance.
Pioneer’s investigation included extensive soil and groundwater sampling and analysis for site characterization and delineation purposes. The analytical results from the cumulative subsurface investigation activities primarily identified polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons and metals at concentrations exceeding the applicable remediation objectives. These contaminants can generally be managed in-place by capping with engineered barriers (i.e. asphalt or concrete). Considering approximately 20 acres of the site was unpaved and there were no plans to pave, Pioneer applied an emerging risk assessment strategy to evaluate the potential health risks across the site. This innovative approach was approved by the IEPA and significantly reduced the costs associated with addressing the environmental legacy of the site.
Additionally the presence of free product (presumed to be old, degraded fuel oil) was identified in a limited portion of the site that historically housed bulk storage aboveground storage tanks (ASTs). Active remediation activities included conventional hot spot remediation to remove the oil impacts.
Furthermore, high level PCB impacts, presumably associated with former transformers, were identified in a limited area of the site. A risk-based approach to address the PCBs was proposed to the USEPA and was approved to allow the impacts to remain at the site. The site is in final review for a comprehensive No Further Remediation (NFR) letter from the IEPA, one of over 640 that Pioneer has assisted its clients in obtaining in its 30 years in business.