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EPA Gets First Cleanup Funds For Zone 2 Of East Chicago Superfund

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Photo: (Indiana Public Broadcasting file photo)

The EPA says cleanup of the West Calumet Housing Complex — which East Chicago Mayor Anthony Copeland ordered demolished last year — is temporarily on hold.

This story was updated Tuesday March 21 at 5 p.m.

The Environmental Protection Agency will get more money from more sources to clean up some of the most contaminated homes in East Chicago, Indiana.

The agency’s new administrative settlement, announced Monday, adds a new company to those responsible for funding the cleanup.

The new company is the U.S. Metals Refining Company. It joins DuPont and its sister company, Chemours, plus BP subsidiary Atlantic Richfield, as the “Potentially Responsible Parties” funding cleanup in the EPA’s USS Lead Superfund site.

The new settlement, which an attorney working in East Chicago provided to Indiana Public Broadcasting, outlines $9.5 million in initial payments required of those companies. But the EPA says in a press release that the work involved in the settlement will cost around $16 million.

That’s on top of $26 million for longer-term cleanup efforts, secured in a 2014 court agreement with Dupont and Atlantic Richfield.

The new funds, on the other hand, are for short-term work – cleanup at the 72 of the most contaminated lots in Zone 2 of the Superfund, a private residential area.

This is the first funding the EPA has secured for that zone. But it doesn’t cover less contaminated lots, or long-term remediation. The EPA declined an interview request and did not immediately respond to a request for written comment for this story.

In its press release, the EPA says cleanup in Zone 2 and Zone 3, which is also residential, will resume in April.

Cleanup at West Calumet Housing Complex, which comprises Zone 1, is currently on hold. The EPA says it’s waiting for city officials to say how they’ll use the site in the future after it’s demolished.

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