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Press Release

Alcoa to Clean Up Remaining Surface Contamination at Former East St. Louis Aluminum Plant Under Federal Settlement

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

Alcoa Corporation and Howmet Aerospace, successors to Alcoa Incorporated, and the City of East St. Louis, Illinois, will clean up hazardous waste disposal sites surrounding Alcoa’s former aluminum manufacturing plant in East St. Louis to resolve federal liability. The settlement will require the companies to clean up radium, arsenic, chromium, lead and other hazardous substances detected in soils at an estimated cost of $4.1 million and reimburse all future costs incurred by the United States in overseeing the cleanup. The complaint filed simultaneously with the proposed consent decree alleges that defendants are liable for the cleanup of hazardous wastes generated by and disposed of on and around the site of the Aluminum Company of America’s aluminum manufacturing and production plant that operated from 1903 until 1957.

“Today’s settlement ensures that Alcoa will continue to clean up the hazardous wastes its industrial activities left behind more than 60 years ago,” said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “The work to be performed under this settlement will protect nearby residents and the environment from any future exposure to the hazards from the former plant operations.”

“For many decades, the residents of East St. Louis have lived near hazardous wastes located at the former Alcoa aluminum production site,” said Acting Assistant Administrator Larry Starfield of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Today’s settlement means a safer environment for neighboring communities, including communities that have been historically overburdened by pollution.”

Under the settlement, Alcoa Corporation and Howmet Aerospace, and the City of East St. Louis, which owns some of the property, will be required to implement the cleanup remedy selected by EPA for over 180 acres designated as Operable Unit 2, by excavating approximately 40,000 cubic yards of near-surface hazardous waste material to a depth of at least two feet, consolidating it with other waste from the former plant, and covering it with a minimum of two feet of clean soil that will be seeded to meet the requirements of applicable Illinois regulations. Stormwater controls also will be installed or reconfigured to protect local properties. This remedy follows on the cleanup of the adjacent Operable Unit 1, which is 220 acres of the former plant facility. Any groundwater contamination will be the subject of future investigation by EPA.

More information about this settlement can be found at:

The consent decree, lodged in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval. The consent decree will be available for viewing at

Updated April 5, 2024

Press Release Number: 21-1263