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EPA wraps up cleanup at abandoned medical building in Cairo, Ill.


Cleanup wraps up this week at the abandoned Southern Medical Center facility in Cairo, Ill. A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 Superfund team, in consultation with Illinois EPA, supervised and paid for the $900,000 project. The effort began in April.

The Southern Medical Center, at 2020 Cedar St., contained a three-story hospital, a doctorsí building, and a now-demolished medical waste incinerator. It opened 1958 as St. Maryís Hospital. When it closed in the mid-1980ís, the buildings were poorly secured. EPA crews found crumbling asbestos piping and floor surfaces containing asbestos, containers of unidentified chemicals and medical equipment containing small amounts of mercury. Medications and medical records were scattered among debris found in the building.

Over the course of the project, 434 tons of construction debris, 23 tons of scrap metal, 2,190 cubic yards of asbestos waste, 880 gallons of hazardous liquids and 110 gallons of biological medical waste were safely removed and sent for off-site disposal. ost non-hazardous waste went to a landfill in Jackson County.

Additionally, 19,000 gallons of wastewater were pumped from basement areas and three underground storage tanks containing 4,500 gallons of fuel oil were removed and dismantled.

Team Illinois, a state initiative to revitalize underserved communities, is currently exploring potential redevelopment options for the site.


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