Gary’s Ralston Street lagoon cleanup nears next phase
By Carole Carlson email@example.com | 648-3154 January 14, 2013 5:34PM
Updated: January 14, 2013 9:51PM
GARY — Planning is expected to begin soon on the next phase of the federally ordered cleanup of the Ralston Street lagoon.
A slurry wall has been constructed around the 19-acre toxic sludge lagoon, south of the Gary/Chicago International Airport, near the Grand Calumet River.
As prescribed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the slurry wall serves as an impervious barrier to contain pollutants that include polychlorinated biphenyl or PCBs that were banned back in 1976.
On Monday, the Gary Sanitary Board signed off on two contracts that marked the near-conclusion of Phase 1 of the estimated $66.6 million cleanup ordered by the EPA in 2009.
Next, officials will study pilot test results of the sludge and determine the proper method to solidify and cap the lagoon.
It will likely include a mixture of sand and cement, said GSD Executive Director Daniel F. Vicari.
He said a meeting with the EPA to begin reviewing the test results will be held soon.
Work is expected to start later in the summer.
Decades ago, the city and GSD allowed the pumping of about 533,000 cubic yards of treated municipal sludge into the lagoon, believed to have been created during the construction of the Indiana Toll Road.