Slag clean up at Kokomo site completed

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 5 indicated that the clean up of the former slag processing area of the Continental Steel Superfund site in Kokomo, Indiana, has been completed two years ahead of schedule thanks to funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The effort at the Continental Steel site is managed in consultation with Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

In April 2009, EPA received $5.9 million in funding via the Recovery Act to clean up two portions of the 183 acre Superfund site – the former slag processing area and contaminated ground water. The money was part of $600 million appropriated by Congress to address 51 different Superfund sites, and it accelerated hazardous waste clean up already under way at this site by more than 2 years. A total of 15 Indiana contractors or subcontractors were involved in the ARRA-funded work, creating at least 45 temporary jobs.

The slag processing clean up started in September 2009 and entailed moving approximately 86,000 tons of slag for use as fill at the acid lagoon area and grading, capping and seeding the area.

The result is land suitable for potential redevelopment. Recovery Act funds also are being used to treat ground water contamination sources, monitor and remove contaminated ground water and send it off-site for treatment and disposal.

Prior to the new Recovery Act funding, EPA spent more than $66 million on clean up activities at the site. IDEM has spent about $6 million. Previous clean up work included tear-down of the main plant buildings and excavation and disposal of heavily contaminated soil and waste piles in that area.

Continental Steel operated on the site from 1914 to 1986 when it filed for bankruptcy. The site was added to EPA’s Superfund National Priorities List in 1989.