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Confined Disposal Facility

Land Use History
CDF Design


Land Use History

Sinclair refinery circa 1950's historical photo.
Sinclair refinery circa 1950's historical photo.

The CDF site was the location of a petroleum products refinery from 1918 to 1981. Peak production was approximately 140,000 barrels per day. The project parcel, termed the main refinery, contained the principal production area and also included storage, a marine loading area, rail loading areas, insecticide manufacturing, truck docking facilities, and an American Petroleum Institute (API) separator. The refinery operations included the production of mineral spirits, propane, leaded and unleaded gasoline, fuel oil, kerosene, asphalt and asphalt products, liquefied petroleum gas, grease, lubricating oils, paraffin wax, phenols, and sulfur. Between 1940 and 1958, pyrethrum extract consisting of dried heads of certain varieties of chrysanthemums was filtered on site. The filtered extract was combined with kerosene and used as an insecticide base to produce insecticide. The maximum annual production of insecticide base occurred in 1944 when 49,359 barrels were produced.

Former owners of the project site include Sinclair from 1918 to 1968, Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO) from 1968 to 1976, and ECI from 1976 to 1981. In 1981, ECI filed for backruptcy; in the late 1980s, all buildings and aboveground structures were razed in response to a court order. Several inches of clean topsoil were graded to cover the site.

In 1989, the city of East Chicago became the owner of the ECI site as payment for back taxes owed by ECI. In assuming ownership without approved environmental corrective and closure actions in place, the City of East Chicago also assumed liability for the site. In 1994, the property was transferred to the East Chicago Waterway Management District (ECWMD), which serves as the local cost-share sponsor with USACE, and assumes all inherent regulatory liabilities. In May 2005, the funding stream for the Federal Navigation portion of the CDF construction was converted to 100% federal. However, per the Project Cooperation Agreement (PCA) executed in 2000 between the Corps and ECWMD, additional capacity has been built into the CDF for placement of dredged material from the non-Federal berthing and dock-face areas in harbor and canal. Financial responsibility for the construction, operation and maintenance, and closure of this proportionate capacity in the CDF is the responsibility of ECWMD. The ECWMD is also responsible for the respective percentage of post-closure care costs for the CDF as required under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).


Confined Disposal Facility Design

The facility was designed to contain existing contaminants onsite in complaince with RCRA and to safely contain contaminated dredged sediments from the IHC.

Confined disposal facility layout.
Confined disposal facility layout.

A Groundwater Protection System was designed to maintain an inward gradient that would prevent grounwater from flowing away from the site. This system is intended to meet the permeability requirements of 10-7 cm/s for the CDF perimeter and consists of three elements: a groundwater cutoff (soil-bentonite slurry) wall, a sealed steel sheet pile cutoff wall, and a groundwater extraction and gradient control system.

Dikes are being built of impervious clay material to contain the dredged sediments. Construction will take place intwo phases: one 20 ft lift (Phase I), and another 12-14 ft lift for future capacity expansion (Phase II). The Phase I lift of the exterior dike is broken into 3 projects: Dike 1, Dike 2, and Dike 3.

Cross-section of CDF features.
Cross-section of CDF features.

Effluent Treatment Systems are designed to treat sediment pore water, site groundwater, and precipitation runoff to NPDES standards before it is discharged back to the Lake
George branch of the canal.

A RCRA Cap will maximize surface runoff from precipitation and minimize the amount of infiltration and percolation of water into the CDF after closure. From bottom to top, the cap will consist of a three feet thickness of compacted soil, a six-inch thick sand drainage layer, and a vegetation layer consisting of a two-foot thick clean fill layer overlain by a six-inch thick topsoil layer with a grass cover. A drainage ditch is installed outside the perimeter dikes and is intended to control the surface runoff from the dikes and exterior CDF post-closure.