A variety of inorganic and organic compounds were released into the Grape Creek and the Vermilion River from a hazardous waste site located along Grape Creek in Hegeler, Illinois. Grape Creek flows into the Vermilion River a few miles downstream of the hazardous waste site. The hazardous waste site was used for a variety of activities over its long history including for a zinc smelter, mixing and distribution of pesticide chemicals. The affected natural resources included creek and river surface water, aquatic sediments, and aquatic life including mussels, other invertebrates, fishes, and aquatic dependent wildlife such as migratory birds and endangered bats that depend on the aquatic life for food and drinking water.
Zinc slag pile, Credit: Illinois DNR