4-Part Series: Safety & Environmental Issues of the Recycling Industry
The Chemetco Site consists of Chemetco Superfund Site property, encompasses a 41-acre site that is located just south of Hartford in Madison County, Illinois. Chemetco operated a secondary copper smelting facility on site from 1970 to 2001, when the company filed for bankruptcy. The facility produced copper cathodes and anodes. Contaminants of concern include elevated levels of cadmium, copper, lead and zinc oxide. The Chemetco Site was listed on the EPA’s National Priorities list in March 2010 and site cleanup is ongoing. The site is currently fenced and access is restricted.
On September 13, 2013 a consent decree between EPA, the Department of Justice (DOJ), the State of Illinois, the bankruptcy trustee for the estate of defendant Chemetco, Inc., and Paradigm Minerals and Environmental Services LLC (Paradigm) was approved by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. Under the settlement, Paradigm, the trustee and potential purchaser of the site, will implement a Superfund removal action to address existing contamination at the site at an estimated cost of $20 million and cleanup. The settlement also resolves EPA and Illinois’ consolidated complaint against Chemetco under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Action (RCRA) and the Clean Water Act (CWA), as well as their bankruptcy proofs of claim.
On February 13, 2015, an Administrative Settlement Agreement and Order on Consent for a Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study was issued between the US EPA and a group of several Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs) including members of the Chemetco Site PRP Group. The Site PRP Group has been working with EPA to identify other PRPs at the Chemetco site through ongoing efforts to recover information from the Wang computer system utilized for Chemetco operations at the site.
On February 12, 2018, the Chemetco Site PRP Group filed a civil action in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois pursuant to CERCLA Sections 107 and 113, 42 U.S.C. §§ 9607 and 9613 seeking a judgement against all named defendants holding that each defendant is a PRP that is strictly, jointly and severaly liable for the voluntary response costs incurred and to be incurred by the Chemetco Site Group.