Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge NRDAR Wastewater Treatment Plant Remediation & Restoration

Background information. Site 36, the wastewater treatment plant on the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge (Crab Orchard NWR), is one of 21 sites on the refuge that have been remediated. The wastewater treatment plant, which was constructed as part of the Illinois Ordnance Plant in 1942, was used to treat wastewater from industrial tenants until the spring of 2005. Through a series of drainages, the outfall from the plant eventually discharged into Crab Orchard Lake. The wastewater treatment plant and surrounding area, which covers approximately 50 acres, became contaminated with hazardous substances, such as polychlorinated biphenyls, heavy metals, pesticides, and dioxins. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), in collaboration ... Show More

Background information. Site 36, the wastewater treatment plant on the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge (Crab Orchard NWR), is one of 21 sites on the refuge that have been remediated. The wastewater treatment plant, which was constructed as part of the Illinois Ordnance Plant in 1942, was used to treat wastewater from industrial tenants until the spring of 2005. Through a series of drainages, the outfall from the plant eventually discharged into Crab Orchard Lake. The wastewater treatment plant and surrounding area, which covers approximately 50 acres, became contaminated with hazardous substances, such as polychlorinated biphenyls, heavy metals, pesticides, and dioxins. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), in collaboration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; the Bureau of Reclamation; and Pangea Group, a Missouri-based construction, environmental, and engineering firm, cleaned up and restored Site 36 for protection of human health and the environment and wildlife use.

The cleanup of Site 36 included demolition of the wastewater treatment plant; onsite treatment of impounded water; excavation and offsite disposal of 47,786 cubic yards of contaminated soil, sediment, and sludge in a permitted landfill; backfilling with clean soil; and re-grading. To restore the site for wildlife habitat, the upland area was reforested with hardwood native trees. The reforested area is contiguous to large tracts of forested land, and the expanded forested area is particularly beneficial for neotropical migrant songbirds. Maintenance of the restoration site is ongoing; the FWS is working to control invasive and exotic plant species that harm native vegetation and wildlife habitat, and the agency will continue to monitor the performance of the restoration until groundwater quality is restored.

Background information on the Crab Orchard Site 36 wastewater treatment plant remediation and restoration was obtained from Leanne Moore, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Environmental Remediation and Restoration Program, written commun., 2015; and from Crab Orchard NRDAR case documents at http://www.cerc.usgs.gov/orda_docs/CaseDetails?ID=1004.
 
Economic impacts. Planning and design of the Site 36 wastewater treatment plant remediation and restoration project began in 1991. Project implementation began in 2005 and was completed in 2009. The project was funded by appropriations from Congress and the U.S. Department of the Interior’s (DOI’s) Central Hazardous Materials Fund, which was created to support cleanup of contaminated sites on DOI lands. The total cost of the project was $9,101,000 (2014 dollars). An estimated 35 percent of project expenditures was spent within the local economy near the Crab Orchard NWR. These local expenditures supported an estimated 32.4 job-years; $1,791,000 in labor income; $3,002,000 in value added; and $4,737,000 in economic output in the local area economy. Expanding to include both local and nonlocal expenditures, the Site 36 wastewater treatment plant remediation and restoration project supported an estimated total of 139.4 job-years; $8,789,000 in labor income; $13,242,000 in value added; and $21,781,000 in economic output in the national economy. Show Less

Contact(s): Catherine M Cullinane Thomas, Christopher C Huber.

Overview

Project Period: 1991-2009

Location: Illinois

Restoration Type: Hazardous structure removal

Lead Agency: Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)

Economic Impacts
National Economic Impacts (2014 dollars):

Total Project Expenditures: $9,101,000


Job-Years: 139.4 (15.3 per $1M)

Labor Income: $8,789,000 ($966K per $1M)

Value Added: $13,242,000 ($1.5M per $1M)

Economic Output: $21,781,000 ($2.4M per $1M)

Local Economic Impacts (2014 dollars):

Local Project Expenditures: $3,162,000

Percent of Project Expenditures Spent Locally: 35%

Local Job-Years: 32.4

Local Labor Income: $1,791,000

Local Value Added: $3,002,000

Local Economic Output: $4,737,000

Big Picture
Main Project: Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge NRDAR Restoration

The Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge (Crab Orchard NWR) located in southern Illinois is a refuge for humans and wildlife alike, and has a unique history of industry, employment, and restoration. In 1936, the Resettlement Administration of the U.S. Department of Agriculture purchased land along Crab Orchard Creek to establish the Crab Orchard Lake reservoir as part of a Great Depression era reemployment program. During World War II, the War Department established the Illinois Ordnance Plant on the site to manufacture ammunition and bombs. In 1947, following the war, the land was transferred into the National Wildlife Refuge System. The enabling legislation for the Crab Orchard NWR required the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) ... Show More

The Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge (Crab Orchard NWR) located in southern Illinois is a refuge for humans and wildlife alike, and has a unique history of industry, employment, and restoration. In 1936, the Resettlement Administration of the U.S. Department of Agriculture purchased land along Crab Orchard Creek to establish the Crab Orchard Lake reservoir as part of a Great Depression era reemployment program. During World War II, the War Department established the Illinois Ordnance Plant on the site to manufacture ammunition and bombs. In 1947, following the war, the land was transferred into the National Wildlife Refuge System. The enabling legislation for the Crab Orchard NWR required the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to reuse some of the Army facilities for industry and use other areas of the refuge for agriculture, recreation, and wildlife conservation. Today, the Crab Orchard NWR has among the highest outdoor recreation and wildlife dependent human uses in the National Wildlife Refuge System, as well as an active agricultural program that includes row crop production, hay production, and cattle grazing.

The industrial uses of the site by the Army and subsequent tenants released hazardous contaminants into the environment. In 1987, because of extensive environmental contamination, the industrial complex was designated as a Superfund site and placed on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) National Priorities List. The FWS was designated as the lead agency for remediation, and the agency coordinated remediation efforts with the EPA, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). The USACE was designated as the lead agency for areas identified as Formerly Used Defense Sites, that is, the areas that were used during World War II. Remediation and restoration efforts have been underway for more than two decades, and several sites have been investigated and cleaned up by potentially responsible parties. To date, approximately $150 million has been spent on remediation and restoration activities, including the excavation and (or) treatment of more than 300,000 cubic yards of soil and sediment containing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), heavy metals, explosives, pesticides, and solvents; and the treatment of groundwater contaminated with solvents. It is anticipated that groundwater treatment will need to continue for decades to achieve the required groundwater standards (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2014). As a result of cleanup efforts, more than 140 acres have been reforested and PCB concentrations in fish in Crab Orchard Lake have declined significantly. These remediation and restoration efforts have improved fish and wildlife habitats, water quality in Crab Orchard Lake, and recreational opportunities such as fishing, boating, bird watching, camping, and swimming.

This report highlights two restoration projects on the Crab Orchard NWR: the remediation and restoration of an industrial wastewater treatment facility, and the restoration of 62 acres of the refuge to native prairie. The U.S. Geological Survey collected data on restoration activities and expenditures to estimate the economic activity supported by these restoration projects.

Background information on the Crab Orchard Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration (NRDAR) settlement was obtained from Leanne Moore, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Environmental Remediation and Restoration Program, written commun., 2015; and from Crab Orchard NRDAR case documents at http://www.cerc.usgs.gov/orda_docs/CaseDetails?ID=1004

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Demolition of the Wastewater Treatment Plant.jpg
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