Adam Kinzinger, 16th District Congressman, was in DePue on Wednesday afternoon taking a tour of the cleanup of heavy metals and contaminants left in the village by now-defunct manufacturing facilities.
The remediation – the process of replacing the contaminated soil with non-contaminated soil – is more than two decades in the making, finally getting off the ground after being added to an Administrator’s Emphasis List, a new effort under EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler and President Donald Trump, according to Region 5 Administrator Kevin Thiede.
“That list was created to identify sites that are languishing and move them along to get cleaned up, so what the community sees here over the past, since the beginning of the year, is accelerated efforts to clean up the contamination present here,” Thiede said.
“A lot of the contamination here is metals: lead, manganese and a variety of others.”
Thiede said these metals can lead to developmental and health issues in young children and pregnant women.
Kinzinger said there’s been a lot of frustration with the contamination ever since he took office in 2010. DePue was added to a national list of priority sites in the 1990s.
“Every update I’d gotten was more and more frustration, and we really saw quick movement when the EPA took over,” Kinzinger said. “I think as the community begins to see what’s happening, it’ll begin to restore faith in that process.
“I saw nothing concerning today. Everything looks great, and I wish this could have been done years ago.”
Kinzinger said he thinks as word gets out about restoring contaminated sites, more people will get the work done for their properties.
“It’s already paid for, so if you can get remediation, you should do it,” Kinzinger said. “I hope we can move past this part of it and move on from here.”
Residents who have contaminated soil removed and replaced will have their yards returned to their original state after work is completed, including landscaping.
The full article can be found on the LaSalle News-Tribune website here.