Hegeler Zinc Danville is a former 100-acre zinc smelting facility located west of the village of Hegeler (south of Danville), in operation from 1906 to approximately 1954. Hegeler Zinc produced zinc slab and rolled zinc products, as well as sulfuric acid, with a resulting slag waste. The large amounts of slag containing unburned residues and metals were stored in piles onsite.
In the early 2000’s, the United States Environmental Protection Agency took the lead of a remedial investigation which consisted of soil, sediment, and groundwater sampling on and off site. Results showed that contaminates not only affected the smelting site but nearby residences and streams, notably Grape Creek, which is hydraulically connected to the Vermilion River.
One of the site’s responsible parties went into bankruptcy with a bar date of July 6, 2009. In response, IDNR and IEPA prepared an NRDA bankruptcy claim based on injuries to groundwater, surface water, aquatic resources, and terrestrial resources. Represented by the Illinois Attorney General, the State of Illinois received a settlement claim to fund efforts to preserve and enhance ecological features in the region.
State trustees are developing a restoration plan for the monies received as a result of the bankruptcy claim. At this time funds will likely be spent somewhere off site as USEPA continues to lead the remedial investigation of the superfund site.