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Health, Science, Environment

Toxic Site In Metro East Enters New Phase Of Cleanup

The US Environmental Protection Agency held a community meeting in Hartford, Illinois, on Wednesday, to inform residents about the ongoing cleanup of the former Chemetco copper smelter.

This is the second of three open houses being held this year. Another will be held in December.

Initial cleanup efforts have focused on dismantling buildings at the Metro East site. Work is now turning toward removal of mountainous black heaps of hazardous waste, known as slag piles.

EPA Remedial Project Manager Nefertiti DiCosmo said area residents do not need to worry about air or water pollution from the cleanup.

"Right now, the Chemetco Bankruptcy Estate is doing storm water retention on the site," DiCosmo said. "Just so there isn't any storm water coming off the site that has come in contact with the contamination. As well as, they are preventing any kind of contaminated dust from blowing off the site."

The property is contaminated with pollutants including cadmium, copper, lead, and zinc oxide. Cleanup is expected to take several years to complete.

Follow Sarah Skiöld-Hanlin on Twitter@Skihan


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