Cleanup Enforcement in Action.
Addressing Community Needs in
Chicago, Illinois
The Value of Environmental Enforcement
At the Celotex Corporation site in Chicago, EPA's
environmental enforcement mechanisms and resources
have played a vital role in supporting public health
protection, environmental restoration and reuse. These
outcomes are providing long-term community benefits
for the nearby Little Village neighborhood.
EPA's environmental enforcement program facilitated
early identification of the parties responsible for the
cleanup of this former asphalt-roofing facility and
executed an agreement with the parties to investigate
site conditions and pay for and perform the cleanup.
EPA enforcement staff also were part of a coordinated
Agency approach that built on extensive and sustained
community outreach to address long-term priorities
for the site. Agreements clearly identified parties'
roles and responsibilities, addressed ownership and
liability concerns, and made sure the cleanup would be
compatible with plans for La Villita Park.
Today, those plans are a reality. The park is a valued
community resource that provides children and
residents with access to athletic fields, a skate park,
basketball courts, gardens, trails, a playground and a
picnic pavilion.
Environmental Enforcement
Benefits the Community
Environmental and public health impacts affect people
most significantly where they live. EPA works to provide
strong, effective enforcement support to all communities.
As the Agency implements environmental and public
health improvements across the country, EPA is looking
for new ways to assist communities in environmentally
overburdened, underserved, and economically distressed
areas where the needs are greatest.
Innovative Approaches and
Coordination Works to Get the
Cleanup Done and a Site in Reuse
A Prospective Purchaser Agreement became the
cornerstone of a d ea n u p a nd reuse process to: transform
an asphalt-roofing products site into a new park for
residents of the Little Village neighborhood in the city of
Chicago, For the first time, 6,000 children living within
a 10-minute walk of the La Villita Park provides easy
access to green space.
park? have easy access to green space and recreational areas!
For the first time, 6,000 children living within a 10-minute walh of the

Site and Community Overview
The site is part of Chicago's vibrant Little Village
neighborhood. Located west of downtown Chicago in
part of the South Lawndale Community, La Villita is
one the largest Latino communities in the country, and
known as the retail, residential and cultural capital of
the Mexican Midwest. Decades of industrial activities
in the area overburdened the community with pollution;
residents face disproportionate public health impacts,
greater obstacles to economic prosperity and increased
vulnerability to climate change.
At the site, companies made, stored and sold asphalt-
roofing products for decades. By the early 1990s,
the area had become a significant threat to human
health and the environment, with residential areas
and local schools in close proximity. Site operations
contaminated soils and materials with coal tar. Soils
contaminated with coal tar washed onto neighboring
yards, investigations discovered elevated levels of
polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), a group of
chemicals that form during the burning of coal, wood,
oil, gas and garbage. PAHs attach to soil particles and
last a long time in the environment. Some PAHs may
cause cancer in humans.
The site's location in Chicago, Illinois.
EPA hosted public meetings to explain site
contamination and health risks to the community. In
1994, parents formed the Little Village Environmental
Justice Organization (LVEJO) to pay attention to
environmental justice issues in the community. The
group conducted neighborhood surveys and developed
mapsto better understand local environmental problems.
LVEJO focused on the area's cleanup, advocating for a
cleanup that would protect current residents as well as
future generations.
Project History
Identifying Responsible Parties, Achieving Cleanup
and Understanding Community Priorities
EPA's initial enforcement activities focused on
identifying the potentially responsible parties (PRPs)
liable for the contamination. This effort led to an
agreement with the PRPs - Allied Signal, Inc. (now
Honeywell International) and Celotex - agreeing to
address the contamination.
Site investigations and cleanup planning took time. In
2004, EPA issued a proposed cleanup plan for the main
site and nearby residential areas. Community feedback
led to a detailed community outreach program. EPA
staff met with community members to explain the
cleanup process and refine revegetation strategies.
i Miles
Sources: Esri, DeLorme, AND, Tele Atlas, First American, UNEP-
As part of the cleanup, workers installed a clay cover over 2
acres of the site.
Celotex \
Chicago Midway
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Site Remediation Enforcement

Prospective Purchaser Agreements
EPA may enter into a prospective purchaser
agreement with a party acquiring a property with
potential CERCLA liability. The agreement includes a
"covenant not to sue" in exchange for payment and/
or work. A covenant not to sue protects the property
owner or operator and future owners from being legally
responsible to the federal government for further
investigation and cleanup. This protection applies
only when the property is used and maintained in the
same manner as when the covenant was issued.
EPA enters into this agreement in limited
circumstances, such as situations where a new use
offers significant environmental benefits and there is
a significant need for an agreement to help make a
project happen.

A 2005 enforcement action memorandum documented
EPA's selection of the final cleanup plan. Then, in
an administrative settlement agreement, Honeywell
agreed to pay for and perform the required cleanup.
Enforcement staff discussed the settlement agreement
with community members during a series of public
Expanding the Conversation, Enhancing Outcomes
By 2006, site stakeholders - regulatory agencies,
the City of Chicago, LVEJO, other local organizations
and community residents - unified their vision for
the reuse of the property. They now considered the
site as a potential asset rather than a iiabiiity for the
community. Residents said they were interested in
the area becoming a public park. The community's
quality-of-life plan prioritized "access to parks and
open space by improving existing facilities and
creating a large new park." While several areas in
Little Village were under consideration, the site was
the strongest candidate for several reasons, including
its central location, surrounding neighborhoods and
schools within walking distance.
Community interest in a park led to a series of new
questions. Could reuse fit well with the cleanup plan?
Who would own, fund, develop and maintain the
property? While answers to some of these questions
-	park funding, property ownership - needed to come
from the community, EPA couid address two key issues
-	liability concerns and cleanup plan compatibility.
Innovative Approaches to Getting the
Cleanup Done
EPA's current strategic plan and cross-agency
strategies provided a way to tackle both of these issues.
EPA employed an enforcement tool - an agreement
and covenant not to sue, also known as a prospective
purchaser agreement. EPA entered into the agreement
with the city and the Chicago Park District. Since the
agreement extends a covenant not to sue from the
federal government, the U.S. Department of Justice
(DOJ) needed to be involved.
"The acquisition of the
property would not have
been possible without
EPA's work on the
prospective purchaser
" Lisa Misher,
lior Counsel with

EPA coordinated closely with DOJ and the city to develop
language for the agreement. They created settlement
terms ensuring that the Chicago Park District would
serve as a reliable long-term steward of the site and its
Signed in
2009, the agreement included several
The city agreed to enhance the soil cover and
seed with vegetation following Sustainable Sites
initiative practices. (To learn more, visit http:/7www.
The city would develop a park on site using
sustainable development practices within seven
years of acquiring the property.
The city agreed to fulfill due care provisions that
would ensure the long-term protectiveness of the
site's cleanup.
In return, the federal government provided the city
with a covenant not to sue, protecting the locality
from potential liability for site contamination.
The parties also agreed to coordinate on park
design and construction activities (see text box
Due Care
The Superfund law requires the exercise of "due
care with respect to the hazardous substance
concerned, taking into consideration the
characteristics of such hazardous substance, in
light of all the relevant facts and circumstances."
EPA works with parties at individual sites to
identify specific due care requirements as part of
cleanup and reuse activities.

EPA required that the Chicago Park District design and build
the park in a sustainable and safe manner.
With the agreement in place, the city opened
negotiations with property owner Sacramento Corp. The
Chicago Park District then acquired the site property
in 2012 for $7.5 million. The agreement became a
cornerstone in the reuse process. It enabled EPA to
further environmental restoration and sustainability
goals in alignment with community priorities and
enabled the city to proceed with property acquisition.
Construction quickly moved forward after EPA reviewed
and approved the Chicago Park District's community-
based design for the new park.
December 2014
La Villita Park opened to the community in December
2014. Chicago's mayor, LVEJO representatives, elected
officials and community members attended the park's
ribbon-cutting ceremony. The mayor spoke about Little
Village and how 6,000 children living within a 10-minute
Integrating Cleanup and Reuse
EPA thoroughly reviewed the Chicago Park District's
design to ensure the park would be designed and
built in an environmentally responsible manner.
During cleanup, EPA required that the district follow
several protective measures:
	Daily air monitoring for site-specific
	Continuous dust monitoring when the cover was
	Water spraying to minimize or eliminate any dust
from escaping the site.
	Proper handling of contaminated material
unearthed during installation of park features
and taking it off site for proper disposal.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Site Remediation Enforcement

The community dedicated La Villita Park in December 2014.
walk of the park have easy access to green space for the
first time.
Today, La Viilita Park is a bustling community resource.
Children play sports on athletic fields. Residents enjoy
park features ranging from a skate park and basketball
courts to gardens, trails, a playground and a picnic
pavilion. Following the park's opening, the Chicago
Park District and LVEJO developed and implemented
outreach, education and crime prevention measures to
ensure that the community was able to use the park to
the greatest extent possible and to provide maximum
benefits to the neighborhood.
Enforcement Makes a Difference
EPA's environmental enforcement program has helped
make a difference in thousands of communities
impacted by hazardous waste contamination. At sites
like the Ceiotex Corporation site, the program helps
ensure that viable liable parties perform and pay
for prompt and protective cleanups and facilitates
revitalization through the use of enforcement guidance
materials and site-specific mechanisms to address
potential liability concerns. In Chicago's vibrant Little
Village neighborhood, clear communication, sustained
engagement and creative problem solving have led to
remarkable opportunities and long-term community
La Villita Park includes athletic fields, a skate park,
basketball courts, gardens, trails, a playground and a picnic

For More Information, Contact:
Elisabeth Freed
freed .el isabeth@epa .gov
(202) 564-5117