EPA orders cleanup of zinc smelter site in DePue, Illinois

DEPUE, Ill. (AP) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued an administrative order to those responsible to clean up contaminated soil at a site near the northern Illinois town of DePue, where a zinc smelter and fertilizer plant was once located, it was announced Tuesday.

The EPA issued the order to TCI Pacific Communications and CBS/Westinghouse, according to the city of DePue. The order requires what the EPA calls ``potentially responsible parties" to clean up contaminated soil in a portion of the New Jersey Zinc/Mobil Chemical Corp. site. The 950-acre site is contaminated with elevated levels of zinc, lead, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, copper, and manganese.

DePue, which is located along a lake where the Illinois River turns south, is nearly surrounded by the contaminated site. The location was originally developed in 1905 as a primary zinc smelter by the Mineral Point Zinc Company and was operated continuously in various capacities until 1989.

The EPA plans to hold a public meeting in the community of about 1,700 people to discuss soil sampling and cleanup and to answer questions before work begins this spring.