EPA in Illinois

Environmental Issues in Chicago's Little Village & Pilsen Neighborhoods

EPA is coordinating with representatives from the City of Chicago Department of Public Health, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, Illinois Department of Public Health, and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry on a number of projects in Chicago's Pilsen and Little Village neighborhoods to monitor and enforce air quality standards, oversee remediation projects, conduct site assessments, and establish and implement appropriate cleanup plans.

  • Sangamon Right of Way EPA signed a consent order with BNSF which included a work plan detailing the removal action processes that will take place at the site. Topographical surveys and soil sampling have been taken, identifying areas of high lead concentration. The contaminated soil at these areas will be dug up, removed, and replace with clean soil. A fence will be consturcted at 16th Street and 18th Street to prevent access to this area.   Once contracts and permits have been issued, EPA and BNSF will finalize the work plans and begin the removal work in May.
  • Loewenthal Metals EPA concluded in September 2013 the cleanup at the former Loewenthal Metals site to remove high concentrations of lead in the soil and ensure that the property is safe for residential use in the future. The City of Chicago also conducted its own cleanup of a portion of land that it owns immediately adjacent and east of the Loewenthal site in October 2013 to address high lead levels in that soil. EPA continues to work with the City of Chicago and Burlington Northern Santa Fe to determine next steps to address contamination adjacent to the Loewenthal Metals site.
  • Pilsen Area Soil Site  U.S. EPA’s detailed report on the results of the soil sampling program for lead contamination in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood is now available to the public (Removal Site Evaluation for the Pilsen Soil Assessment Area). EPA has been investigating lead contamination in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood since 2011, when it became involved with a cleanup at the former Loewenthal Smelter. Residents requested additional investigation into potential lead contamination given the area’s long industrial history.
  • Air Issues EPA continues to be concerned about air pollution in the Pilsen neighborhood. In January 2013, EPA and the State of Illinois signed a consent decree with H. Kramer and Co. to resolve violations of the Clean Air Act and state air pollution violations at the firm's copper smelting foundry in the Pilsen neighborhood.