Drycleaner Site Profiles

United Cleaners, Site # 1973, Lemont, Illinois

Historical activity that resulted in contamination.

The drycleaner occupies a 2080 square ft area within the Lemont Plaza strip mall. The mall consists of 5 single story buildings and was built in 1960. The drycleaning operation was started at that time using PCE. A 150 gallons above ground storage tank (AST) was previously located on-site but was removed in 1995. Some staining was located in the area of the former AST. An alley separates the site from an office building and multi-family residential dwellings. Other areas surrounding the property are primarily used for commercial purposes.

Contaminants present and the highest amount detected in both soil and groundwater.

Contaminant Media Concentration (ppb) Nondetect
cis-1,2-Dichloroethene soil 144,000 ppb
1,1-Dichloroethene soil 306 ppb
Tetrachloroethene (PCE) soil 4,700,000 ppb
1,1,1-Trichloroethane soil 5,610 ppb
Trichloroethene (TCE) soil 170,000 ppb
trans-1,2-Dichloroethene soil 865 ppb
Vinyl Chloride soil 2,840 ppb

Site Hydrology

Deepest Significant Groundwater Contamination:  
Plume Size:  
Average Depth to Groundwater:   ft

Lithology and Subsurface Geology

Wadsworth and Haeger Members of Wedron Formation.
  silty and pebbly drifts containing local areas of sandy to gravely till in outer moraines
Depth: 0-250ft bgs
250ft thick
Conductivity: 5.4E-006ft/day

Pathways and DNAPL Presence

DNAPL Present

Remediation Scenario

Cleanup Goals:
1-1-DCA 1830 mg/kg
cis-1,2-DCE 1900 mg/kg
PCE 100 mg/kg
TCE 440 mg/kg
VC 0.25 mg/kg

Remedy Level:
  Interim Action


In Situ Other

Why the technology was selected:
In 2002, no other technology seemed possible to meet the remediation objective based on soil type (i.e. tight clay) and degree of contamination (i.e. more than 4,000 down to 20 ft (?)since the maximum remedial benefit from the Illinois Fund to the drycleaning facility was $140,000 in total. Also, the technology vendor was confident that the remediation objectives can be reached within 120 days of implementation of the HSVE system. (This was a pilot project for the Fund)

Date implemented:

Final remediation design:
The treatment system uses a series of in-ground coils to transfer heat, increase the volatility of the organic contaminants, and facilitate removal of the volatile solvents from the soil using a vapor extraction system. After operation for 120 days, the system was modified slightly. Although the system was working, it was felt some system modifications should be made to ensure that the remediation of the remaining chlorinated solvents would be completed in a timely fashion. Modifications included an additional heat point and an additional extraction well in the remaining hot spot.

Other technologies used:
Heat Soil Vapor Extraction (HSVE) -- in situ

Results to date:
It was originally thought that 120 days would be adequate to clean up the site. Initially, after 90 days of operation, the HSVE system has resulted in lower PCE concentrations, with reductions from soil concentrations of 4,300 mg/kg to 2,400 mg/kg and also, one of the two areas where the remediation system was installed seemed to be cleaned up. Even so, operation of all the heating coils continued at the entire site to provide further remediation only at the at those areas where the objectives have not yet been met. The treatment at the site had been extended until June 30, 2003. In July 2003, the confirmatory site investigation showed that the HSVE system failed to meet the remediation objectives after 330 days of operation although it was originally thought that the objectives could be met within 120 days.

Next Steps:
Additional Site Investigation is being conducted to further identify the source of contamination near the hot spot area especially for potential groundwater contamination. (No contamination was discovered down to 48 ft during the initial site investigation back in 2001.) Another remedial technology is being reviewed.

Cost to Design and Implement:
$65,482.15 (w/ O&M costs)


Cost for Assessment:
Cost for Operation and Maintenance:
Total Costs for Cleanup:

Lessons Learned

1. Detailed site investigation is needed at the hotspot area and for the soil type profiling especially in tight clay soil.
2. Radius of influence by HSVE system did NOT seem to be any better than normal SVE system
3. Long term exposure of soil to the heat seems to further harden the soil and create some cracks which can alter the preferential pathways. This phenomenon can reduces the efficiency of the system.
4. Proper sealing of the extraction wells is so important in the success of the system.


Juho So
Drycleaner Environmental Response Trust Fund of IL
1000 Tower Lane Suite 140
PO Box 7380
Bensenville, IL 60106-7380