West Chicago Environmental Response Trust (WCERT), IL

Exceeding all performance goals, Weston successfully serves as the Trustee in Illinois for a U.S. Grantor Trust to undertake remediation and ecological restoration associated with Tronox Limited obligations.

Weston is currently managing a U.S. Grantor Trust set up by the United States Department of Justice (USDOJ) for the EPA, the State of Illinois, and local communities, including DuPage County, Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, the City of West Chicago, and the City of Warrenville. The mission of the West Chicago Environmental Response Trust (WCERT) is to fulfill all remaining environmental remediation and ecological restoration obligations of Tronox Limited. Obligations relate to asset management, decommissioning, demolition, and remediation of the former Rare Earths Facility and vicinity properties, and radiological remediation and ecological restoration of Kress Creek and the west branch of the DuPage River.

The former Rare Earths Facility extracted thorium from monazite sands. The facility comprises approximately 43 acres and once included 21 production and support buildings.  Significant contamination was identified in the soil, sediments, and groundwater of the surrounding neighborhoods.  Since 2011, Weston has completed the following activities: 1) decommissioning and demolition of large facilities and structures used for handling radioactive materials; 2) remediation and shipping of over 60,000 cubic yards of radiologically-contaminated soils and sediments at the facility and various reaches of the Kress Creek and the west branch of the DuPage River; 3) design and installation of comprehensive engineering systems to facilitate surgical excavation of contaminated soil; 4) design and installation of a new water treatment plant for treating excavation water and groundwater contaminated with uranium, fluoride, and heavy metals; 5) development of a comprehensive fate and transport groundwater model; 6) testing of technologies, such as solidification and stabilization and in-situ leaching of uranium to address groundwater contamination; 7) ecological restoration of Kress Creek and the west branch of the DuPage River; 8) remediation and restoration of WCERT and privately-owned residential properties; and 9) environmental monitoring of air, groundwater and surface water.

The Beneficiaries rate WCERT as innovative and effective. Weston, as Trustee, is exceeding performance goals and delivering excellent management, financial, engineering, and construction services and exceptional forecasting, managing, and cost control expertise. Weston’s robust internal controls and billing accuracy has allowed the Department of Energy (DOE) to approve 99% of the Title X claims every year. With innovative and cost-effective remediation approaches, Weston has used innovative funding solutions to overcome Title X funding deficit and meet its aggressive remediation, demolition, and decommissioning schedule. This includes reaching a complex and innovative gap funding agreement with a third party to fund critical remediation activities before Title X funds materialized. Weston has maintained positive working relationships with all beneficiaries and used a partnering approach to develop decision points/decision logic to guide remediation activities.