1807-1815 N. Kimball Ave EPA Brownfields Cleanup Grant

1807-1815 N. Kimball Ave. site looking West. Elevated Bloomingdale Trail is in background along South site boundary.


Site History

The property that is the subject of this cleanup grant is located at 1807-15 North Kimball Avenue in Chicago (the “Site”). The Site encompasses about 0.4 acres of vacant land that is covered in concrete or grass/soil. Soil, groundwater, and soil gas investigations found concentrations of volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds and metals exceeding applicable state cleanup criteria across the majority of the Site. In addition, there is a hot spot of high trichloroethene (TCE) concentrations in deep soil (~8 to 20 ft below the surface) on the eastern portion of the Site.

The Site’s contamination is likely due to releases from the long history of industrial and manufacturing activity that occurred both onsite and immediately adjacent since the late 1800s. The uses include: a lumberyard; metal, historic paint, lumber, machine shop, automobile, and other warehouse operations associated with laundry machine and fluorescent light fixture manufacturing companies; and urban fill brough onto the Site. TCE is a common solvent typically used for degreasing in manufacturing operations.

In the mid-1990s, the elevated rail line that is adjacent to the south of the Site closed. In 2015 the former tracks were converted to an elevated greenway known as the Bloomingdale Trail, which offers local resident a commuting corridor (bicycle and pedestrian) and recreation space. The full park and Bloomingdale Trail network, which came to be known as “The 606,” included plans to convert the Site into an access point park due to its location and ramp that ties into the elevated trail. Reducing the concentrations of the TCE hotspot is a critical first step to enabling the Site to be reused as a public greenspace.

EPA Brownfields Cleanup Grant

The City of Chicago, Department of Fleet & Facility Management (2FM) applied for and in 2020 was awarded a $500,000 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Brownfields Cleanup Grant (Cleanup Grant). Cleanup Grant funding will be used to reduce TCE hot spot concentrations to acceptable levels, which has been the primary obstacle preventing Site redevelopment. A detailed summary of the proposed Site remediation plan is included in the following subsection, “Proposed Remediation Plan.”   

The total cost of the TCE hot spot remediation was estimated to be ~$720,000. The City of Chicago has allocated approximately $220,000 in a firm leverage commitment from its Open Space Impact Fee Fund (OSIFF) to be applied towards TCE hot spot remediation of the Site. Of this amount, $100,000 will be used to satisfy the required 20% match required by the grant conditions, and the remaining $120,000 are leveraged funds committed by the City to fund the portion of the TCE hot spot remediation not covered by the grant or match.

EPA Press Release

Grant Application:

Proposed Remediation Plan

Draft/Final ABCA – A draft of the Analysis of Brownfield Cleanup Alternatives (ABCA) was included in the FY20 Cleanup Grant application and updated in October 2021. Community input on the Draft ABCA was requested during the grant application process and again in November 2021 after it was updated. The ABCA summarizes environmental report findings, remediation alternative evaluations, and the proposed cleanup plan for the TCE “hot spot”. The ABCA will be updated as needed and finalized prior to the start of remediation. 

Remediation Plan – The recommended cleanup alternative identified in the Draft ABCA for the TCE “hot spot” is In Situ Chemical Oxidation Treatment (ISCO) via in-place soil mixing. ISCO uses an oxidizing compound to break down TCE in-place and lower the concentrations to acceptable levels. Later cleanup actions to be implemented prior to, or as part of redevelopment, will likely include engineered barrier construction (such as clean soil, asphalt, concrete) and implementation of institutional controls.

Site Remediation Program (SRP) Enrollment – The Site was enrolled in the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency’s (IEPA) SRP in December 2020. By enrolling in the SRP, the planned cleanup activities will be reviewed and approved by the IEPA. At the completion of cleanup activities, IEPA issues a No Further Remediation (NFR) letter, which indicates that the environmental conditions at a property do not present a significant risk to human health or the environment. The NFR letter for this Site will be obtained in a later phase of redevelopment when the required engineered barriers and institutional controls will be installed and implemented.

SRP Reporting – A Comprehensive Site Investigation/Remediation Objectives Report/Remedial Action Plan (CSIR/ROR/RAP) has been prepared and submitted to IEPA for review and approval, which summarizes all Site data, cleanup standards, and the planned remediation identified in the draft ABCA.A report summarizing the results of the cleanup will be submitted to IEPA after the cleanup is complete.

Community Involvement

The Community will be involved in various stages of the project and will be kept informed of planned activities with regular updates to the project website, community meetings and mailings.  2FM will continue to provide regular project updates on this website. 

January and November 2019 Public Meeting - Community meetings were held in January 2019 and November 2019 prior to applying for the Cleanup Grant. The January 2019 meeting was part of a previous year’s grant application where the project was not selected. The public was also given a comment period on the 2019 draft Analysis of Brownfield Cleanup Alternatives (ABCA) that was included with the City's application.

November 2021 Virtual Public Meeting and ABCA Public Comment Period - The City co-hosed a virtual public meeting with Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail to discuss the cleanup of soil contaminated with trichloroethylene (TCE) at 1807-1815 N. Kimball Avenue (the Site). The City has been awarded a $500,000 grant by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the cleanup for the Site, which is adjacent to the Bloomingdale Trail. The virtual public meeting discussed updates to the Analysis of Brownfield Cleanup Alternatives (ABCA), the plan for environmental cleanup, the project timeline, and procedures for maintaining and monitoring public safety during the work.

The updated ABCA was made available for public comment from November 1, 2021 through November 30, 2021 and can be viewed below and at the following locations:

  1. Chicago Public Library’s Humboldt Park Branch (1605 N. Troy Street, Chicago, IL 60647) and may be examined and copied during their regular hours.
  2. City of Chicago Department of 2FM, 2 N. LaSalle Street, Suite 200 and may be examined or copied in the office weekdays 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM by appointment (call 312-744-0500 or email AIS_EHS_Notifications@cityofchicago.org).

Community Involvement Plan (CIP) - A CIP has been prepared to document strategies to address the needs and concerns of community members.

Administrative Record - An administrative record is located at the Humboldt Park Branch Library 1605 N Troy St, Chicago, IL 60647). Documents to be provided as part of the administrative record will include the Draft and Updated ABCA, the CSIR/ROR/RAP, all IEPA correspondence, the CIP, responses to public comments, and the cleanup completion report. Documents can be viewed as they are completed during regular library hours.

General Grant Project Schedule

Year 1 (Oct. 2020 – Sept. 2021): Enroll the Site in the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) Site Remediation Program (SRP) and submit reports for review and approval; issue final Analysis of Brownfield Cleanup Alternatives (ABCA); begin quarterly community meetings (Spring 2021); and begin preparing project plans and specifications.

Year 2 (Oct. 2021 – Sept. 2022): Finalize project plans and specifications and continue to hold community engagement events.

Year 3 (Oct. 2022 – Sept. 2023): Issue bid to select contractor; complete permitting and TCE cleanup; keep community informed of cleanup start and progress; submit documentation to the IEPA upon completion of cleanup.

Questions? Contact 2FM at AIS_EHS_Notifications@cityofchicago.org or 312.744.0500.

Note: Though this project has been funded, wholly or in part, by EPA, the contents of this website do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of EPA.