The nature of the Indiana Harbor and Canal (IHC) Confined Disposal Facility (CDF) and dredging project is unique in a number of ways and is subject to numerous regulations.
The CDF is located on the former Energy Cooperative, Inc (ECI) site, which has open Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) status due to its past use as a petroleum refinery and the resulting contamination of soil and groundwater; this aspect will necessitate RCRA closure and corrective actions.
Additionally, polluted sediments will be stored within the CDF, a portion of which are regulated by the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA). Regulatory requirements associated with dredging, as well as those imparted by the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act must be addressed. The following is a brief summary of those regulations.
The site currently has open RCRA status because the court-approved closure of the former ECI site was not comparable to a RCRA approved closure. The site requires RCRA corrective action due to the contamination of soil and groundwater on site from past industrial activities.
Both the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) have determined that RCRA closure will be required on the CDF site due to soil and groundwater contamination, and thus will be subject to post-closure permitting requirements.
Closure/post-closure requirements for the site focus on three main actions: 1. An underground cutoff wall system to contain contaminants, 2. A groundwater gradient control system that will prevent contamination from leaving the site, and 3. An in-place closure cap system to permanently entomb the sediments after dredging is complete. A portion of the in-place closure cap has already been installed on the site, with a final cap being placed after filling of the CDF is complete.
To facilitate the CDF project implementation and to ensure that all regulatory issues, including RCRA corrective action and closure, are being covered the role of the partners is addressed through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between USEPA, IDEM, USACE, and the East Chicago Waterway Management District (ECWMD). As laid out in the MOU the project coordination includes ongoing engineering evaluation of each project feature by regulatory authorities.
A portion of the site will be isolated and used for the disposal of TSCA level PCB-contaminated sediment. The CDF design incorporates those elements necessary for risk-based TSCA approval and is similar to those necessary for RCRA closure. The TSCA permit was issued for the IHC CDF in December 2018. Dredging and disposal of the TSCA material to the CDF occurred in summer 2019.
The CDF site complies with the “No Exposure Certification for Exclusion from National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Storm Water Permitting” and the terms and conditions of 40 CFR 122.26(g) and the conditions of a NPDES 402 Storm Water Permit. This signifies that all storm water which falls on site will either flow over a clean clay cap which covers the site and into the stormwater ditches, or stormwater will flow into the disposal cells where it will ultimately be treated.
In order to effectively minimize activities which would otherwise collect stormwater or cause contaminated water to fall on site, decontamination, debris, and storage pads have secondary containments and drainage systems that ultimately divert water to a treatment plant.
The IHC CDF site has an NPDES 402 Discharge Permit for authorization to discharge into the waters of the State of Indiana in accordance with Section 402 and 405 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act and IC-13-15 (NPDES Permit No. IN 0062511). This permit imposes certain effluent limitations for the on-site wastewater treatment plant. The wastewater treatment plant has been in operation since 2007.
USACE has received Section 401 Water Quality Certification in April 2011 to cap contaminated sediment from the Indiana Harbor Canal (IDEM No: 2011-017-45-EMP-A). The certification signifies that the project will comply with the applicable provisions of 327 IAC 2 and Section 401 of the Clean Water Act.
An Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Floodway Permit was obtained under IC 14-28-1 with 312 AIC 10 and a Lake Michigan Permit under IC 13-29-1 and 312 IAC 6. These permits were received April 27, 2011 (Applicant FW-26069), and cover dredging in Lake Michigan and in the floodway. As part of the project's monitoring program, there will be in-stream monitoring of suspended solids before and during dredging events to evaluate and mitigate the environmental impacts of dredging on aquatic life.
Operations at the IHC CDF site are subject to specific requirements regarding fugitive dust and VOC emission controls as specified in Title 326 of the Indiana Administrative Code (IAC). In addition, activities at the CDF will conform to the Registered Construction and Operation Status (RCOS 089-15320-00471) or Air Registration for the IHC site.
In 2001, an Ambient Air Monitoring Program (AAMP) was implemented by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at the IHC CDF site. The AAMP is the overall investigative program to characterize the atmospheric conditions throughout the life of the project. The ambient air monitoring program includes sampling for potential contaminants of concern in air samples in the vicinity of the CDF, including at the East Chicago Central High School, using 24 hour samplers. The results are available through the IHC project website. Ambient Air Monitoring Data »
The IDEM Air Registration includes limits on VOC and PM emissions (25 tons per year of each) and requirements for the monitoring and reporting of those emissions. Air emissions modeling is used to estimate the emissions for a given year, including dredging activities, and to demonstrate compliance with the IDEM Air Registration. If the modeling indicates the potential to exceed the annual thresholds, modifications will be made to the operations plan. In a separate study, the USEPA has determined that if the IHC CDF air emissions are in compliance with the IDEM air registration for the project, the long term health risk to receptors will be below USEPA's established risk level.
Emissions air monitoring will be conducted during dredging operations. Emissions monitoring is performed on the CDF site adjacent to activities that have the potential to cause releases to the atmosphere, such as the placement of the sediment into the CDF. This monitoring will be done using “real-time” air monitoring equipment that measures particulates and naphthalene. The results are posted on the project website for public review. Data »
Below the air registration limit of 25 tons per year emissions, USACE has determined a series of action levels for the real time air monitoring, to ensure that the CDF is being operated in a safe manner for the surrounding community. To control emissions, a variety of possible techniques will be used. The most effective control will be to keep the sediment ponded, which eliminates particulate emissions and also minimizes volatile emissions. Other possible controls include changes to the operation, such as how and where sediment is placed into the CDF, the use of vegetation to control particulates, the use of covers or foams, and the use of fencing to limit particulate emissions.
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 USACE 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 the 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.