Smelters, Refineries Targeted for Superfund Action

Chemetco site in Illinois added to EPA’s Priorities List.

March 3, 2010
Recycling Today Staff
Legislation & Regulations

The United States Environmental Protection Agency has added 10 new sites to its National Priorities List (NPL) of Superfund sites.

The EPA calls the NPL “a listing of priority sites that EPA investigates to determine if actions are needed to clean up the waste.” In addition to the 10 designated sites added to the list, EPA is also proposing to add eight more sites to the NPL.

Several of the 18 sites identified have recycling or metals industry connections. Among the 10 sites already added to the NPL list is the former Chemetco property near Hartford, Ill.

The property was a metals refining site from 1972 until it closed in 2001. At that time, it had an annual capacity of about 100,000 tons per year of copper anode production and 10,000 tons per year of lead/tin ingot production, according to a Web site responsible for auctioning off the property’s assets.

According to an EPA document describing the site and its history, “Its major function [was] secondary processing of copper-bearing scrap and manufacturing residues. The operation entailed purchasing raw materials from throughout the United States and Canada. Much of the raw material consisted of electrical devices or equipment or cable, but a percentage was composed of items such as skimmings, slags, turnings, grindings and other residues from foundries and factories, auto parts and building components.”

Among the eight sites proposed to be added to the NPL are the Smokey Mountain Smelters site near Knoxville, Tenn., a former secondary aluminum smelting plant; the Dewey Loeffel Landfill in Nassau, N.Y., a hazardous waste landfill that operated in the 1950s and 1960s; and the ACM Smelter and Refinery in Cascade County, Mont., which smelted and refined copper.