June 9, 2022
airplane with two cherry pickers spraying it

Chicago O'Hare International Airport is located on the northwest side of Chicago, IL, about 17 miles northwest of the Loop business district. The airport property covers around 7,627 acres and is operated by the Chicago Department of Aviation.

To better serve the residents of the Chicago area as well as international travelers, the airport is constantly building and expanding its capabilities. The Chicago Department of Aviation works closely with consulting and environmental engineering firms to procure services through contracts, which by standard practice, includes remediation services. At the beginning of every expansion project, soil is sampled to detect the presence of any hazardous waste or chemicals. If detection is found, safe and compliant removal and disposal of any contaminated soil must be completed before construction can begin.

Excavation of soil with large excavator

During the recent construction of a new runway, PFAS-contaminated soil was discovered in the early stages of the project. Aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) was frequently used for firefighting training and drills on airport property. AFFF is a fire suppressant that is highly effective in extinguishing flammable liquid fires such as those caused by jet fuel. AFFF contains two groups of chemicals, PFOS and PFOA commonly known as PFAS, that are hazardous to human health.

The contractor handling the project called upon US Ecology to handle the transportation of 200 tons of PFAS-contaminated soil and subsequent disposal to our secure subtitle C landfill in Belleville, MI. It was very important to both the Illinois Department of Aviation and the contractor that the project was completed expediently and in compliance with state and federal regulations and PFAS regulatory guidance. US Ecology removed between seven and eight truckloads each day during the project, ensuring the PFAS-contaminated soil was securely transported and disposed of to end the mobility cycle of this hazardous material.

US Ecology continues to provide premier transportation and disposal services for O’Hare International Airport as well as other customers in the area including the transportation of 670 tons of PFAS-contaminated soil from the state of Wisconsin that will be loaded on to rail cars for secure disposal at our arid climate subtitle C landfill in Grandview, ID.

As additional construction-related remediation projects at O’Hare arise, US Ecology remains a trusted partner in the safe and compliant transportation and disposal of PFAS-contaminated soils as well as other hazardous materials. Our team delivers comprehensive single-source expertise to government, private sector and environmental engineering and consulting firms on a wide variety of site services ranging from specific line-items for Superfund projects to on-site treatment and removal of contaminated soils to managing remediation projects from start to finish by offering the most integrated environmental services and disposal package in the industry.

US Ecology is an industry leader offering multiple, innovative turnkey solutions for PFAS-contaminated waste, including arid-climate secure disposal, deep-well injection, thermal treatment, remediation, transportation and more. To learn more about our PFAS waste solutions, contact us at (800) 592-5489 or visit us online at www.usecology.com/services/treatment-disposal/pfas-waste-solutions.