WASHINGTON (CN) – A radioactive landfill in the middle of a Chicago park is finally clean enough to be removed from the Superfund National Priorities List according the Environmental Protection Agency.
Located in a largely residential area of West Chicago, Ill, the Kerr-McGee Reed-Keppler Park Superfund Site is on 11 acres of a 90 acre parcel that was developed into the Prairie Oaks Family Aquatic Center complete with water-slides, a multi-use pool, volleyball courts as well as concession and changing facilities.
Just 700 feet from those facilities is what was the center of a landfill which for 40 years accepted radioactive mill tailings from the East Chicago Rare Earths Facility. Until the facility closed in 1973 it was the main source of thorium, a radioactive element that helps fuel nuclear reactors and nuclear bombs, for the U.S. weapons program.
To decontaminate the site, the EPA ordered the removal 114,652 cubic yards of contaminated soil, which was sifted for radioactive material then shipped to a Nuclear Regulatory Commission licensed disposal site in Utah.