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Airport Expansion into Former Industrial Areas | Gary/Chicago International Airport

Location: Gary, Indiana

Time Frame: May 2007 – present

Services Provided:

  • Phase I Environmental Assessment
  • Phase II Environmental Assessment
  • Waste Characterization and Disposal
  • Remedial Assessment and Design

QEPI was contracted by the Gary/Chicago International Airport to perform Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessments during the summer of 2007. The site assessments were performed at three locations adjacent to the airport with known environmental impacts. These locations were determined by plans for the expansion of the airport. Of the three main locations, one was a former unregulated dump, one was a former hazardous waste storage facility/oil refinery, and one was a vacant property and wetlands that had been used as a dumping ground for asphalt waste. Additional Phase I Environmental Assessments were also performed at several more adjacent sites.

Three different remediation technologies were chosen for the separate sites. Monitored Natural Attenuation was chosen for the former unregulated dump due to the lack of significant impacts. A limited remedial excavation with more lenient site-specific risk-based closure goals was chosen for the former asphalt dumping grounds. Less stringent closure goals were calculated using site-specific data and were aided by limited by future land use. The planned excavation was limited to the area of future expansion to minimize the destruction of wetlands.

A free product recovery system was chosen for the former hazardous waste storage facility/oil refinery. Investigations performed by QEPI indicated that up to five feet of crude oil had been discovered to be on top of the water table and was seeping into an adjacent drainage ditch at the airport leading to the Grand Calumet River. This site had previously been the object of an EPA Superfund cleanup, which removed or capped the recovered hazardous waste at the property. The EPA later installed a pump and treat system to address the crude oil at the site, and insisted that the airport take over the system once they took over ownership. QEPI performed a quality analysis of the EPA system which concluded that the system was too inefficient for the amount of oil in the subsurface. QEPI then designed a more effective trench based oil recovery system that would enhance oil recovery, completely stop groundwater recovery, be less expensive to operate, and take less effort and cost to maintain than the previous EPA system. None of the remediation plans have been implemented as of June 2008, however remediation plans and discussions are ongoing at the sites.

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