CHICAGO–(ENEWSPF)–Nov.15, 2010. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 today began demolition of a building at the site of Economy Plating, 2348-52 N. Elston Ave. in Chicago. Formerly a chrome plating shop, the site has been abandoned since 2003.
Demolition comes after a number of interim steps to protect the community from potentially dangerous contamination. During the initial cleanup in May 2009, EPA found hexavalent chromium, a carcinogen, seeping out of the brick walls at concentrations more than 3,000 times higher than safe levels. This posed an unacceptable threat to the community, especially with residences on three sides. EPA also found and removed several hundred containers of hazardous substances such as chromium, cyanide, arsenic and lead.
EPA installed temporary barriers to cover the contaminated walls and sought to remove the hexavalent chromium source by demolishing the building. Not all the building’s owners gave permission for the demolition, however, so EPA took legal action under the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act. EPA was granted legal authority Sept. 28 to tear down the building. Once that work is done, EPA will dig up and remove contaminated soil, then put in clean fill dirt.
Illinois EPA, Chicago Department of the Environment, Chicago Fire Deparment and the office of 32nd Ward Alderman Scott Waguespak are working with EPA on this cleanup. For more information on the Economy Plating cleanup, go to http://www.epa.gov/region5/sites/economy/ online.