Sixty-five people packed into the Hartford Community Center Tuesday night to meet with officials from the United States and Illinois Environmental Protection Agencies to discuss the next steps for cleaning up the Chemetco Superfund Site. Kevin Tuner, the on-site coordinator from the U.S. EPA and Chris Cahnovsky from the IEPA gave a detailed presentation on the history of the property, the consent decree issued by the Department of Justice and the plan for cleaning up the former copper smelter before fielding questions from the audience.
Residents living near Long Lake raised concerns about their long-term health and decreasing property values as a result of pollution from Chemetco. Some suggested that testing on their properties and even perhaps themselves should have been done a long time ago.
Turner says testing has been done in the past and that more testing will likely be done in the future.
Thomas Martin from the U.S. EPA explained why the testing hasn't been done yet.
Martin says that he estimates that more testing of the area will begin within the next year but wouldn't give an exact date.
The removal of hazardous materals from the Chemetco site will also begin later this year. Paradigm Minerals & Environmental Services will be performing the clean-up, extracting the valuable metals such as copper, lead, tin, and zinc. The EPA estimates work will be completed within 5-7 years and that you will see some noticable reduction in the slag piles on the site within a year.