AKT Peerless provided environmental consulting services to a property owner and former tenant who was under a Consent Order from the Illinois Attorney General’s Office to mitigate environmental exposure risks to subsurface contamination resulting from the former drycleaning facility located within the main business district of the Village of Lombard.
The client was not in a position to undertake the financial burden required to address the environmental contamination known to exist at the subject property and relied solely on funds available from the remediation program of the Illinois Drycleaner Environmental Response Trust Fund (the Fund). The Fund was established by the Illinois legislature in 1997, in response to requests by operators of retail drycleaning facilities to have financial resources available to pay for the cleanup of spills and/or leaks from their drycleaning machines and solvent storage units. The Fund consists of three primary programs, described below:
- A mandatory Licensing Program, which requires dry cleaners to pay licensing fees based on the quantity of solvent purchased;
- An Insurance Program, which will fund up to $500,000 for the remediation of any future spill or release; and
- A Remedial Program, which will fund up to $300,000 for the remediation of any existing contamination discovered between 1997 and 2006.
Under the Remediation Program, all work plans and budgets undergo review and approval by the Fund, and all environmental activities are performed under the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) voluntary Site Remediation Program (SRP). The SRP is a voluntary program under which any persons seeking to perform investigative or remedial activities at a property may receive technical assistance and guidance from the Illinois EPA. Upon demonstrating that environmental conditions at a property do not present significant risks to human health or the environment through proper investigative and remedial action (when warranted), the Illinois EPA will issue a “No Further Remediation” (NFR) Letter, which signifies a release from further responsibilities under the Illinois Environmental Protection Act.
Under the SRP, AKT Peerless extensively investigated subsurface environmental conditions at the subject property and characterized the nature and extent of contamination resulting from the former dry-cleaning facility. The results of the investigation indicated contamination was present at the subject property at concentrations requiring remediation to depths up to 20 feet below ground surface. Additionally, the investigation confirmed contamination had migrated to the northern and western adjoining properties.
AKT Peerless initially remediated approximately 500 tons of highly impacted soil at the subject property. The soil was remediated via in-situ chemical oxidation, which consisted of mixing 9.5 tons of potassium permanganate and 8,000-gallons of water with the impacted soil, within a 400 square foot area to a depth of 20 feet below ground surface. Confirmatory soil and groundwater sampling indicated the remedial efforts were successful, and remaining contamination at the subject property and adjoining properties could be managed in-place by using risk-based corrective actions.
To implement the risk-based corrective actions and remain within the maximum budget allowed by the Fund, it was necessary for AKT Peerless to engage in multiple negotiations with the various stakeholders, which accomplished the following:
- The Village of Lombard relaxed zoning and permitting requirements resulting in reduced engineered barrier installation fees;
- The adjacent property owners permitted low-level contamination to remain on their properties and for risk-based corrective actions to be applied; and
- And the Illinois EPA approved alternate engineered barrier designs and allowed the adjacent properties to be covered by the ultimate NFR Letter.
Following negotiations, AKT Peerless coordinated the installation of a 7,700 square foot asphalt engineered barrier and a 1,300 square foot alternate engineered barrier consisting of three feet of ‘clean’ soil overlying a 40-mil geomembrane.
Upon completion of the SRP reporting requirements, an NFR Letter was issued by the Illinois EPA indicating low-level contamination remaining at the subject property and adjoining properties does not present a threat to humans given the placement of engineered barriers and various institutional controls. The issuance of the NFR Letter ultimately released AKT Peerless’ client from further obligations to the Illinois Attorney General’s Office under the Consent Order.
AKT Peerless’ expertise in environmental site characterization and remediation and knowledge of available funding mechanisms and State programs facilitated the environmental restoration of these unutilized properties located within the main business district of Lombard. The project was completed by minimizing direct costs to the property owner, the former tenant, the Village of Lombard, which will ultimately aid with the sale and redevelopment of the subject property.