Nike Missile Sites

This page is brought to you by Jackson Park Advisory Council, Chicago and by Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference, owner of and provider of services to JPAC. Join JPAC or Contact JPAC Secretary and web editor Gary Ossewaarde. HPKCC's Parks Committee can also use your help: use same contact.

Jackson Park home. Jackson Park History. Jackson Park Timeline. Burnham Park Timeline. Promontory Point Park page. HPKCC History and Preservation in Depth page surveys historic and preservation issues in parks. Photos follow description in present page.
Jackson Hot Topics has features that tie the missile sites to continuing environmental-hydrological concerns. See also Green Hyde Park page. Parks home. Watch in summer 2006 for a display containing photos of the base, at Hyde Park Historical Society.

On the availability of the Army Corps Report and JPAC letter to the Corps early 2006.

The Corps has issued a preliminary report that recommends more remedial exploration. We have a copy and CD. More below.

JPAC has received a hard copy and CD of the Preliminary Final Assessment of the Nike C-41 Missile Base. We are considering best ways to make the report available. It contains the what and how of construction, how the base operated, how it was closed down, what left behind, and remediation efforts in recent years. The report recommends that the site be more thoroughly investigated and necessary rectifications made. The Corps came in December 2006 and took numerous bore tests and left 3 wells to periodically collect water samples. Further reports are in preparation and inspections done.


Jackson Park needs through cleanup of Nike missile sites

Letter from JPAC (Nancy Hays Pres., Ross Petersen VP, Gary Ossewaarde Sec.) to Hyde Park Herald, February 15, 2006

The Jackson Park Advisory Council has received a report titled Final Preliminary Assessment Nike Site C-41, issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, dated December 2005.

The corps of engineers tells the advisory council that a copy of this report will be sent to the Blackstone Branch Library for public reference. The advisory council's copy is available through the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference by a appointment only. E-mail or phone 288-8343 to schedule.

The advisory council has long sought a more thorough clean up of the site, a former anti-aircraft/antiballistic missile base that occupied parts of Promontory Point and Jackson Park form 1953 to 1972.

The advisory council hopes to 1.) circulate this report, and 2.) collect comments or criticism. Our e-mail is; mailing address c/o Gary Ossewaarde, Chicago, IL 60637. Please respond by [?].

Anyone with an interest in this topic is encouraged to attend the next council meeting March 13, when this report is on the agenda. [past]

The advisory council meets the second Monday of every month except October (columbus Day holiday--meet next day) at the field house, 6401 S. Stony Island, at 7:30 pm.



New concerns and Army Corps to return re: remediation

JPAC has received a copy of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers protocol for return visit to the Bob-o-link Meadow area. Council officers have the document under study.

As of December 13, 2006, the Army Corps team has returned to test-drill the site (particularly Bob-o-link area to seek the source of polycyclic hydrocarbons that formed a film on the east lagoon a few years back, and any other problematic material that may show up.

From the February 8, 2006 Hyde Park Herald: Contamination in Jackson park?

By Tedd Carrison. (Note, JPAC believes removal of the concrete magazines IS NOT necessary or possible, nor does it believe there is any possibility of nuclear material being there, as the article may imply. GMO)

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released an extensive report in December, detailing the potential environmental impact of nuclear missile silos that once occupied a large portion of Jackson Park's Bob-O-Link Meadow. The report has the park's advisory council asking what, exactly, is buried in the area and what can be done about it.

The "Final Preliminary Assessment," complete with blueprints, areal photographs and diagrams, acknowledges past findings of contamination in the park but could not confirm their severity or source. Amid pages of technical charts and abstracts, it details one case where unusually high levels of lead were noted in the soil near a launch site and, consequently, 1210 cubic yards of the soil were removed. Whether other contaminants remain is unclear.

As one of four Nike Missile Sites along Chicago's lakefront during the Cold War, Jackson Park and adjoining Promontory Point once housed radar towers and anti-aircraft missiles, some capped with nuclear warheads. Nike Site C-41 was one of roughly 300 similar installations across the country that were built in the 1950s during the heightened fears of a Soviet invasion.

This site has spurred community controversy since it opened in in 1955. Initially, the army wanted to install the missiles on Wooded Island and a larger swath of the Point but was deterred by Hyde Park civic groups, according to Herald archives.

Now, decades after the U.S. Army scrapped the missile defense project intent on protecting Chicago's skies, some fear that its remnants may now be harming parts of the city's lakefront.

On a tour of the former C-41 Nike site, much of what is now a golf driving range that uses some of the original military fencing, Jackson Park Advisory Council Vice-President Ross Petersen pointed out a plumbing network that leads from the remaining underground magazines that housed the 41-foot missiles to a nearby lagoon. He said the council is concerned not only about what might be flowing through these "mystery pipes" into the water, but also the impact the massive concrete infrastructure has on surrounding plant life. "We don't think it's chemicals left behind by the rockets but the concrete that has an adverse effect," said Petersen. He said the subsurface concrete compacts the soil, stunting the plant growth around it and he would like to see the magazines removed' [Note, Petersen told the Feb. 13 Adv. Co. mtg. he has not called for removal of magazines, and advised against so doing, cost being est. at $3-4 million. GMO]

If they were to be excavated, the onus would be on the Chicago Park District to remove them, said Walter Parrow, an Illinois project manager for the Louisville District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In 1971, as the army ended its lease with the park district and abandoned the site, the federal government provided the park district with $268,714.70 to clean-up the area, including lagoon restoration and replacement plantings. From the beginning, this exchange has caused debate about with whom the site's responsibility lies and for the time being, Parrow said the army is only required to take supplements la soil and water samples, not provide any further restoration.

Park district officials could not be reached for comment.

Parrow is charged with overseeing and studying former Nike sites throughout the state to assess their environmental impact. He said he recently conducted similar site inspections in four Chicago suburbs. Three required no additional work and the fourth, in Naperville, revealed ground water contamination. But Parrow said he could not determine if it was caused by the military or the land's current owner."The closer a site is to a large urban area, the less likely it is to have problems," said Parrow, explaining that city drainage systems do a better job of flushing out any possible contaminants and are less conducive to dumping. "When you get to a site in a rural area, that's where you tend to have problems."

He said the Corps is seeking federal money to fund a site investigation at Jackson Park and the Point this summer. The Corps would analyze samples taken from the soil near the vast missile magazines that are still buried in the park and from sediments in the adjoining lagoon. If the funds are not allocated, the investigation will be postponed a year, he said.

Petersen said he would like the community to review the army corps' latest report, which is available at the Blackstone Branch Library [not confirmed-GO], 4904 S. Lake Park Ave., and comment to the corps before the pending inspection. The report will also be the focus of [upcoming JPAC monthly meetings, 2nd Tuesdays, 6401 S. Stony Island.]

From the February 15, 2006 Herald. Stream at Nike site discovered. By Tedd Carrison

A thin stream of water could be seen draining into a Jackson Park lagoon last week from pipes connected to a former Nike missile magazine buried in t he area. The leak is raising questions about the water's exact origin and contents.

Beneath a grate in the park's Bob-O-Link Meadow, moisture trickled from an elbow joint that connects the vast magazine to a corrugated pipe, which then leads into the lagoon.....

The leaking underground magazine once held one of these missiles. Jackson Park Vice-President Ross Petersen said he believed the outfalls were sealed and the recent leak was the first he had seen in 12 years of casually monitoring the site. "If the water is coming out of those magazines, there could be noxious contamination. We do not know," he said.

Michele Jones, a spokesman for the Chicago Park District, said her office has consistently* monitored the Nike site and found no sign of harmful contaminants in the area."'Park district officials] are in constant communication with the [U.S. Army Corps of Engineers] and they feel, as the experts, that Jackson Park is safe, said Jones. "We have no cause to be alarmed by this water. It is safe."

In December, the army corps released an extensive report that details the Nike site's potential environmental impact to Promontory Point and Jackson Park.

As a follow-up, the corps' project manager is seeking federal money to visit the Bob-O-Link Meadow this summer and test soil from near the outfalls and sediment from the adjoining lagoon. Based on his assessments of other Chicago-area sites, he said he does not anticipate any significant contamination.

[*"consistently monitored" and "constant communication" are closer to "occasionally" GMO]


Some other websites--note, there are several dozens.

Some general websites:
Ed Thelen's Nike Missile Web Site: (
Site Summit, Alaska - Nike Hercules ADA: (
Baltimore-Washington Defense - 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade: (

Site of Michael Epperson (history and views) (
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers site (more below)

The JPAC has a copy of the Army's illustrated publication on the history of the Nike Missile system, Last Line of Defense. Online at We also have the Final Preliminary Assessment of the C-41 Site on Chicago's South Side.

Another: This site lists the following books, pamphlets, and has a link to more online sites.

Articles & Publications
(Some items not be available at this time)

Camp Hero & Montauk Air Force Station
Located at Montauk, Long Island, New York, the Montauk Air Force Station was a vital link in the Air Force's Cold War era early warning radar network.

Cold War in Long Island Sound: A Brief History of the Hart Island Nike Missile Site
New York Correction History Society, July 2000.

A Concise History of the Nike Missile System

Nike Missile Specifications & Performance Data

Lumberton's Cold War Legacy:
Nike Missile Battery PH-23/25
Burlington County Historical Society, 1999

Air Defense on the Delaware:
The Pedricktown Missile Master Site, 1960-1966
Salem County Historical Society, 1999

Relics of the Cold War
Air Defense Artillery Magazine, 1999

Cold War at Campgaw Mountain: Nike Site NY-93/94
Bergen County Historical Society, 1999

Air Defenders of Morris County:
Nike Site NY-80, 1954-1974
Morris County Historical Commission, 1997

Nike Site BR-09 West Haven, CT
Trip Report (1999)

The Cold War in New England
WCVB-TV Documentary Film (1999)

Nike History Online

Three Minutes To Armageddon (by Gary Stephens)
Air Defense Artillery Magazine


Narration, details, public reaction on the bases

The following is only an outline. Beginning about 1953, the U.S. Army leased land on various sites- about 20--on Chicago's lakefront (and about 400 other sites nationwide) to build bases for guns and missiles meant to intercept Soviet or any other enemy's bombers (or missiles) should they appear over the Midwest. The South Side sites became operational by 1954. On the South Side, the launcher and housing sites were in the eastern part of Jackson Park while the control center was in the heart of Promontory Point--and loomed far above the revetment, as shown in the photo below. Due to official and community protests (i.e. a rally April 21, 1954), the Army dropped plans to use Wooded Island in Jackson Park and a larger part Promontory Point. The next closest site was at 31st. (The closest intact site is in northwest Indiana.) In Jackson Park, part of the lagoon system (and its habitat small islands) was filled in as the silos aka magazines et al were excavated to substitute for the land and a running track lost to public use between the lagoons and Lake Shore Drive. (This fill consisted of Columbian Exposition remains such as the Manufactures bldg. and 1983 fill and original substrate.)

The base was fenced in and patrolled by dogs (as shown here in a "difficult" photo taken from the lagoon east shore by the intrepid Nancy Hays). The early missiles required a nasty set of fuels including for a time fuming red nitric acid. The second generation of Nike missiles was capable of carrying nuclear warheads--whether any here did has never been officially revealed, but the fact that in 2004 the Army Corps is interviewing former military and civilian operators of the site about handling of waste material, plus witness attestation, makes it certain this was the case at Jackson Park (the 31st Street missiles were non-nuclear.)

The imposition of the bases was met by occasional mass protest marches starting at least as early as April 21, 1954. Leon Despres, former 5th Ward alderman, recounted having to assess undetailed secret information, or rather disinformation. The bases were finally removed in 1971 (February 10 from Promontory Point, October from Jackson?--followed by a "We Won Our Point" party), by which time they had become a focus for protest of the Vietnam War. But the removal was incomplete--fuel tanks were left (although in tests 2001-3 did not find contamination except that about 100 cu yds of lead-contaminted soil was removed from the soccer field area in Jackson Park), much material that can be toxic such as wiring as well as loads of concrete were simply buried, and drains left that have tested to flow with bacteria after rains. Nothing needing deep roots can grow at the Golf Driving Range or the southern section of Bob-o-link Meadow. Nike Site C-41 in Jackson Park is listed on the Department of Defense's "Defense Environmental Restoration Program Formerly Used Defense Sites (DERP-FUDS)" (See or
See above on the Preliminary Assessment just released.

Kimberlee Turner, then communications spokesman of the Corps Louisville District) is quoted as saying researchers have interviewed c. 12 former patrolmen and persons with first-hand knowledge of of how waste was handled as well as identifying areas that may need further investigation. (This is in addition to continuing investigation of piping, cleanup in recent years of petroleum at one of several spots investigated at Bob-o-link Meadow, and concerns about bacteria leaching into the lagoon from old outfalls.) Some persons interviewed told the Hyde Park Herald say waste was removed long ago, one, Bernard Williams, who patrolled for the National Guard after the sites closed in 1971, says radioactive waste was likely stored in the Armory on Cottage Grove and something poured on the old IC at 41st, but none says any was ever dumped or spilled on the missile sites themselves.


In 1953, the U.S. Army leased land from the Park District for a Nike missile base on a Jackson Park meadow. Soon afterward, it took part of Promontory Point for a radar site.The radar towers stood south of the fieldhouse on a large tract surrounded by a barbed-wire fence. One of the towers reached 150 feet in height, and all of them dwarfed the turret of the fieldhouse. Many neighborhood residents resented the radar towers and their placement on the Point, but protests became vocal only in the Vietnam era. After the radar towers finally came down in 1971, there was a victory rally with the slogan, "We've won our Point." --Excerpt from "Promontory Point: Lake Michigan at 55th Street, Chicago,1937-1987" by John McDermott, Jr. (by Hyde Park Historical Society and available from them and (parts?) on their website.

Text here, and many of the pictures are from the site of Mike Epperson; several were taken by Nancy Hays, president of JPAC, some of the latter are from large-format prints on cardboard held by the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference (these are also in Regenstein Library Special Collections).

The bases used two generations of missiles:

In 1954, the U.S. Army deployed the world’s first operational, guided, surface-to-air missile system. This system, the Nike Ajax, was conceived near the end of World War II and developed during the early years of the Cold War. With an increasing perception of a direct Soviet bomber threat to the American mainland, the Army rushed Nike Ajax into production and deployed the missile system around major urban locations including Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, and San Francisco.

NUCLEAR MISSILES IN JACKSON PARK? This photo shows the newer, nuclear capable Nike Hercules in the foreground and its smaller predecessor, Nike Ajax. in the background. Site C-41 in Jackson Park and Promontory Point was converted to Nike Hercules missiles and equipment in April 1959. Whereas the Nike Ajax, with its conventional Composition B warhead was designed to destroy individual aircraft, Nike Hercules with its W-31 nuclear warhead (with switchable 2 or 40 kiloton yields) was designed to destroy entire squadrons of supersonic aircraft at altitudes in excess of 150,000 feet at a range of over 87 miles. In addition to the W-31 nuclear warhead, the Nike Hercules could also carry a 1000 pound T-45 conventional high explosive warhead. Even today, the government will not disclose which domestic Nike Hercules sites were equipped with the W-31 nuclear warheads. [Editor Sources we have seen have then-Rep. Abner Mikva confirming or asserting the base was nuclear in 1969.]

NUCLEAR MISSILES IN JACKSON PARK? From Michael Epperson's website

Site C-41 in Jackson Park and Promontory Point was converted to Nike Hercules missiles and equipment in April 1959.

Whereas the Nike Ajax, with its conventional Composition B warhead was designed to destroy individual aircraft, Nike Hercules with its W-31 nuclear warhead (with switchable 2 or 40 kiloton yields) was designed to destroy entire squadrons of supersonic aircraft at altitudes in excess of 150,000 feet at a range of over 87 miles. In addition to the W-31 nuclear warhead, the Nike Hercules could also carry a 1000 pound T-45 conventional high explosive warhead. Even today, the government will not disclose which domestic Nike Hercules sites were equipped with the W-31 nuclear warheads.

Here's an email I received from a former Command Sergeant Major who worked with the Nike program in Chicago:

As a former member of 1st Bn, 60th ADA, I can tell you that "D" Battery, was part of the Battalion prior to the Democratic Convention of 1968. I can also tell you that the Chicago police (and military - operation Garden Plot) response to the SDS and others rioting during the convention was very much as the result of the nuclear capability (very few people would know for sure one way or the other, although at the time we believed we had nukes on the birds) of Battalion.

In addition to my normal occupational activities, I was tasked with riot control chemical defense and was on orders as a selected marksman to defend the missiles and warheads. Although not a member of D battery, I was tasked with supporting it prior to the convention and riots. When I left the Bn in July 1969, I signed an obligation for a twenty-five year period of silence with respect to all activities within the Battalion and the Nike system. Since that period is long past, I can tell you that at the time, (spring '68) government intelligence believed that the Students for a Democratic Society would attempt to occupy one of the Bn sites (most likely Jackson Park) and hold Chicago as ransom, during the convention. I know this story sounds like something from a novel, but it is history I participated in.


NIKE AJAX vs NIKE HERCULES (first: Ajax, then: Hercules)
Length: 21 feet (34.8 feet w/booster) 41 feet
Diameter: 12 inches 31.5 inches
Weight: 1,000 pounds (2,455 w/booster) 10,710 pounds
Range: 25 to 30 miles Over 87 miles
Speed: Mach 2.3 (1,679 mph) Mach 3.65 (2,707 mph)
Altitude: Up to 70,000 feet Up to 150,000 feet
Warhead: Conventional: Comp B high explosive Nuclear: W-31 (2 or 40 kiloton) Conventional: T-45 high explosive


Some history on the Nike missile site at Promontory Point and Jackson Park:
An excerpt from...
Michael Epperson's website

"45th Air Defense Artillery Brigade History"
Chapter V - NIKE AJAX (Part 1)
1 January 1955 - 31 December 1959


(The complete article can be read here, in "THE NPG NEWS The Newsletter of the Nike Preservation Group" Vol 4, No.2, June 2001)

The missile era officially arrived in the Chicago area when B Battery, 86th AAA Missile Battalion moved into the first permanent NIKE - AJAX site on 24 January 1955. The unit departed C30T at 1230 and arrived at Skokie, Illinois (C93) at 1605... C Battery occupied C41, Jackson Park. The administrative Area was located on the old location of the gun site 42. This move and construction rekindled the civilian anger against the military because of the obviously permanent occupation of the lakefront parks.

The biggest occurrence in Chicago between the military and the civilian populace took place over the entire year... This issue was the adverse publicity toward the Army, more specifically, the ARAACOM sites, gun and missile, along the lakefront, mainly the Burnham-Jackson Park area:

"Choice park lands have been ceded to the Army 12 NIKE and radar installation… public lands are used whenever possible to save money. Whose money is being saved? Not Chicagoans', since we pay doubly for these installations--in federal income tax and in city taxes apportioned to the Park District… Is there no better way to provide for our defense than by usurping park lands, which this city desperately needs… In Belmont Harbor… eight acres… In Jackson, not only has the original acreage been taken but… 200 trees are being cut down… We urge again the consideration of building offshore installations…"

--E. W. Donohue, Chairman, Board of Directors, Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference

"Southtown and the entire Southside has lost the lake front for recreational purposes between Jackson and Grant Parks… Built approximately a quarter of a century ago from sand sucked from the bottom of the lake,… named… (for) Daniel Burnham whose plan for beautifying Chicago drew the admiration of civic leaders throughout the world… When current projects are completed, they(drivers) will see… the ugly looking buildings and equipment taking form… These shanties (corrugated steel barracks) have transformed the shore line at 44th St. from an attractive park area to one that resembles a slum."

--Southtown Economist 29 February 1956

"Ald. Leon M. Despres has fired a blast at the Army's NIKE anti-aircraft installations on the lake front .... Despres complained that the bases are shutting off large stretches of Lake Michigan to Chicagoans. He also charged that the NIKE guided missile defense against potential bombers is obsolete ...."

--Chicago Tribune 7 March 1956

"Sweeping stretches of Chicago's once-dazzling front yard are going to pot. The Army is one of the responsible villains. It's a bum rap. Neglect--but not by the military--has left the lakefront… looking… like a partly cleared slum…"

--Chicago American 7 March 1956

"LTC William H. Arnold, 5th Army Commander, told a special park board meeting Monday that the Army has let contracts for landscaping all lake front Nike sites."

--Chicago Daily News 20 March 1956

So went the beginning of 1956. Alderman Despres (5th Ward) and the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference for the South end and Alderman Jack I. Sperling (50th Ward) for the North led the public effort into attempting to oust the Army along the lake front. However, the real fight started in August. In 1951 the Army leased the first four sites, Lincoln Park, Loyola Park, Calumet Park, and Belmont Harbor, for $1 per year apiece. The term of the agreement was to run out on 27 August. The park board extended the time for an additional 30 days. This was more than just a squabble for the military occupation of a few acres on the Chicago lakefront. It was a test of a national law--that the government has the power to condemn land whenever necessary under its right of eminent domain. But to try to appease the public resentment, public hearings were conducted in which the Army, Chicago Park Commissioners and interested persons were encouraged to participate.

On 7 August the Chicago Park District, headed by James P. Gately, refused to automatically renew the 5 year leases. A public hearing was set for 10 A.M. 24 August at the Park District Administration Building. The Park District admitted that the Army could initiate condemnation proceedings and probably retain the land for $1. Therefore a new approach was advanced, The Army should leave but if they would not move, they should at least pay for the occupation of the land.

(The complete article can be read here, in "THE NPG NEWS The Newsletter of the Nike Preservation Group" Vol 4, No.2, June 2001)


Black and white photos below, starting with the boy playing frisbee by the Promontory Point radar, except the last, are by Nancy Hays, JPAC president. Other photos are from various sites (last on the North Side).

Map of Nike sites, Promontory Point, Jackson Park

The housing area was southeast of the launch site, almost at the Drive north of Hayes Drive and sw. of the Beach House. The soccer fields and the Hayes basketball parking lot are there now. Where the launch site was is now Bob-o-link Meadow (close to the lagoon) and the Golf Driving Range.

The missiles and the Promontory Point radar towers (from Michael Epperson/b & w via Tribune, then views of the towers and the perimeter of the Jackson Park launch site by Nancy Hays, finally a North Side view. Below: FUDs map of where the Army Corps thought there might be toxic tanks in the launch area/Bob-o-link Meadow. (The only material was further south in the housing area.) Also pic ref: http:..www.ed-thelen.orgloc-i.html#C41.

Nike missiles-? generation Nike missiles upright. ? generation
Missiles Transport of feuling truck
Promontory Point  Nike radar towers from across 57th beach Promontory Point  radar towers
Kids play fresbie  west of the radar towers, Promontory Point. Nancy Hays? Warning sign at radar enclosure fence, Promontory Point. Nancy Hays?
Edge of the misile base at lagoon edge, with fence and sign. Jackson Park. Nancy Hays Security sign in Jackson Park. Nancy Hays
Moving misiles on Chicago's north side  

Map of ACE tests for hazardous materials, early 2000s


THE 'FUDS' CLEANUP PROJECT- EARLY 2000S ROUND ( late 2005 Assessment Report recommends returning.)

According to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Louisville District:

Nike C-41 is a Defense Environmental Restoration Program - Formerly Used Defense Site (DERP-FUDS). It is located in Chicago on the edge of Lake Michigan across from the end of 55th Street at the south end of Burnham Park and operated from 1951 to 1971.

According to an Inventory Project Report (INPR), written by the Army Corps of Engineers, Chicago District in 1993, three containerized underground storage tanks were identified for removal. In 1998, a subsequent geophysical report indicated 13 possible tanks (2 in the Control Area, 5 in the Launch Area, and 6 in the Housing Area). The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is the executing agent responsible for cleaning up properties that were once operated or owned by the Department of Defense.

This project has been recently transferred to the Louisville District. The Louisville District plans to determine how many, if any, tanks were removed by the Corps of Engineers, Chicago District and to document their removal with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. Plans include revising the INPR and removing, if necessary, any underground storage tanks on this property.

Here are some examples of other 'structural hazards' listed in the DERP-FUDS manual. According to a DERP-FUDS pamphlet, 'hazards' are described as follows:

"Projects at a FUDS fall within one or more of the following categories:

Hazardous, Toxic, and Radioactive Waste:

Cleanup and removal of hazardous substances. Projects in this category include removal of underground and aboveground storage tanks, drums, and electrical transformers. These projects are called containerized hazardous, toxic and radioactive waste projects. Other projects in this category Include removal of soil or groundwater contaminated with hazardous substances. Also included are projects for removal of other hazardous substances or wastes. In addition, this category includes projects for cleanup of environmental problems associated with contaminated landfills.

Building Demolition and/or Debris Removal: Demolition and removal of structurally unsafe buildings or towers and removal of unsafe debris.

Ordnance and Explosive Waste: Identification and removal of abandoned ordnance and explosive waste such as bombs, bullets, and rockets. Also included are projects for removal or remediation of explosive-contaminated soil and chemical warfare material."



Summary and Conclusions from the Final Preliminary Assessment, 2005

Nike Site C-41 Preliminary Assessment Final
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Louisville District and Parsons . December 2005

6.1 Summary and Conclusions

The Army operated former Nike Site C-41 from 1955 until Nike missile sites were deemed obsolete in 1971. The site was declared excess in 1971 and was returned to the CPD. The government paid the CPD $268, 714.70 to cover the costs for the restoration of the Control Area [Promontory Point] and Launch and Housing Area [Jackson Park] (Reference 3).

[During later revisits:] Two UST's [underground storage tanks] but no LUSTs [leaking] were reported within the former Control Area. Excavations performed at several of the UST's did not find any UST's or residual contamination. The Housing Area had several UST's that were removed. Investigations were performed by the USACE, Louisville District, to evaluate potential presence of UST's or residual soil contamination from UST's, resulting in removal of approximately 60 cubic yards of petroleum-contaminated soil. The Corrective Action Completion Report for this action included a request that the Illinois EPA issue a letter of no further remediation with regards to UST's at the Housing Area (Reference 30), which has been issued.

COPC's [contaminants of potential concern] were identified based on the historical operations described in Sections 2.2 to 2.6. Activities were performed in the Launch Area that potentially resulted in release to soils, surface water or sediments. The COPC's around UTS's could also be released from other activities in the Launch Area. COPC's related to this site include petroleum hydrocarbons; chromium; lead’ and VOV's [volatile organic compounds] such as benzene, carbon tetrachloride, perchlorethene, toluene, 1,1,1-trichoroethane, 1,1,2-trichloroethane, trichloroethane, acetone, and alcohol. The petroleum hydrocarbons are related to fuel and oil use and storage on site. The chromium and lead are associated with paint, battery electrolyte solutions, and/or corrosion cleaning compounds. The VOC's are associated with typical maintenance operations, petroleum-based fuels, and lubricants (e.g., diesel, JP-4, fuel oil, lubrication oil, and hydraulic fluids.)

Transformers were present at the site and likely contained PCBs. Release of PCBs would have been limited, since the transformers were sealed. However, some transformers may have leaked. PCBs are relatively immobile in soil, and contamination would have been limited to the area in the immediate vicinity of a leaking transformer. The quantities and infrequent release of PCBs make it unlikely that serious and consistent PCB contamination PCB contamination will be found on the former Nike Missile Site C-41.

Nike missile magazines were equipped with sump pumps that would receive liquids from within the buildings and pump them to the surface for discharge. This surface discharge could present a source of contamination that may pose risk to human health and the environment.

Although the presence of PAH's [polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons] and elevated concentrations of led have been documented in subsurface soil at the site, there is no clear evidence that these contaminants are associated with the Launch Area. Records indicate the presence of fill including cinders, brick, and glass prior to the construction of the Launch Area. Furthermore, the most likely contaminants to be released associated with the Nike missile site would be fuel oil, diesel fuel, or hydraulic fluid, which are not associated with lead. The fill material is the likely source of the lead detected at the site, and likely contributes to the presence of PAH's. Given the documented fill at the site prior to construction of the Nike facilities and the widespread nature of the fill, the potentially complete pathways are probably no different at the former Nike facility than in nearby areas.

An investigation was performed to determine if UST's are present in the Launch Area. The COPC's around UST's would not be mutually exclusive from those associated with other potential sources of contamination The UST investigations included test trenching and soil borings in areas identified with two geophysical surveys and a records search. Subsurface soil contamination was detected above the TACO Tier I Residential Remediation Objectives in the vicinity of Anomaly A-5 Approximately 110 cubic yards of contaminated soil were excavated and removed. Confirmatory sampling of the sidewalls and floor of the excavation detected contaminants (PAH's and lead) above TACP Tier I…. SPLP lead was detected at concentrations in excess ..for the migration to groundwater pathway. However, the mean lead concentration was below the …Objective for ingestion. Since an exceedance of the ingestion objective for lead was not demonstrated, and the groundwater exposure pathway is incomplete due to a City of Chicago ordinance that serves as an institutional control, it is not believed that lead presents a significant threat to human health.

A surface sheen was identified in a seep located along the bank East Lagoon, approximately 60 feet west of the contamination detected at Anomaly A-5. A water sample collected from the seep was found to contain benzo(a)pyrene at a concentration in excess of the Illinois General Use Water Quality Standard. It is not believed that the sole exceedance …. indicates the presence of a contaminant source. A soil sample collected at t he site of the seep contained benzo(a) pyrene at a concentration slightly above the TACO Tier I Residential Remediation Objective. However, [its] concentration was below the recently released Chicago urban area background concentration.

Analysis of historic aerial photographs was performed as part of the PA. No evidence of waste burial or trenches was observed. Pre-existing fill was present that included cinders, brick, glass, and dredge material likely obtained from the Indiana Shoals an Indiana dunes area. According to a website maintained by the ISGS, lake-fill is also reported to contain wastes from city waste collections. The Army did fill a portion of the lagoon, and stripped and filled the Launch Area. Figure 2.3 shows the creation of new land associated with the construction of the three missile magazines at C-41.

Although there is no direct evidence that any waste was deposited at the site, if wastes were disposed of on site, shallow groundwater quality would likely be affected. One well, located approximately 2,600 feet west of the Launch Area, was reported to have been drilled in 1966 for the Stony Island Fish Company. This well reportedly is open to the bedrock aquifer at a depth of 383 bs….There is no evidence that groundwater is being used as a potable drinking water source within a four-mile radius of the site.

Although there is no evidence that any waste was deposited at the site, if wastes were released from the sumps of the magazines to the surface, contaminants potentially could have flowed through storm drains to East lagoon, which flows to Lake Michigan…used for potable purposes. Available historical 4
documents and site visit observations revealed the presence of a potential two-inch sump discharge to the lagoon. This site currently is a public park and was a public park prior to an after the army ceased operations on site. Other industrial sources are not likely to have been tied to the sewer lines on site. However, any contamination from the site entering Lake Michigan would have been highly diluted and would not likely pose a risk to human health or the environment.

Given the site’s current use as a public park, the soil exposure pathway may present as risk to human health or the environment in the former Launch Area. The potential exists that activities at the missile storage magazines resulted in a release to soils. The site has been closed for 30-plus years. During this period, natural attenuation processes such as biodegradation, photodegradation, and volatilization would have reduced the concentrations and availability of contaminants in near-surface soils. Contaminants have also likely been displaced by wind and water attenuation. The amount of attenuation depends on the physiochemical properties of the contaminant and the characteristics of the surrounding environment.

A release to the air is not suspected. No odors were detected, there was no indication of any blowing dust or soil during the site reconnaissance, and the areas are regularly maintained.

Site-related conclusions are based on the observations, testing, and historical data gathered during this project. It is unknown if potential contamination identified in the former Launch area at Anomaly A-5 is associated with the former Nike Missile Site C-41. It is possible that the fill material that predated the construction and operation of the Nike facility and the fill placed by the Army are both potential sources for this contamination. Thos. as well as the existence of other anthropogenic sources of contamination on or near the former Launch Area, will likely complicate the attribution and apportionment of any identified contamination related to the site.

Historical data indicate that a potential for soil contamination exists at the site, related to potential discharges from the underground missile magazine sumps. Therefore an SI [site investigation] is recommended. The SI will include an investigation of soil, sediments, and/or surface water in two AOC [area of concern] areas. One AOC will include the magazines and lagoon, and the other will include Anomaly A-5. Specifically, the AOC's to be investigated are:

COPC's include metals, PAH's, SVOC, and VOC's for the sediment an surface water samples to be collected from AOC1. COPC's include PAH's for soil samples to be collected from AOC2. Sample locations, media, and analyses to be performed will be detailed in the SI work plan.

No sampling is suggested for the Control Area [Promontory Point] or the Housing Area as contamination associated with those areas is either unlikely (i.e., release is unlikely) or is not likely to pose an adverse risk to human health or the environment.

A data gap exists. The extent of contamination associated with non-DoD sources is unknown. Any SI to be performed will need to identify anthropogenic and non-anthropogenic background concentrations, and statistically determine whether conditions in the vicinity of the launch area exceed background concentrations. In general, it should not be concluded that a significant DoD release has occurred if the difference between the background and the study area is not statistically significant. Given the potential for background concentrations to be present above the TACO Tier I residential remediation objectives, statistical comparison to background will be required for study areas that exceed TACO Tier I decision limits.

The Notice of Cancellation of Lease dated June 16, 1971, indicates that “the Lessor hereby agrees to accept above-mentioned improvement and sum of $213, 586.62 in full settlement of the cost of restoration to the premises being relinquished by the Government and will, as of t he 19th day of July, 1971, assume custody and care of said improvements, the Government thereafter being released from any further responsibility therefore” (Reference 4). The cancellation further notes that if the CPD decides to restore the portion of the lagoon on leased property that was filled in by the government by dredging, the government will pay the reasonable cost of the restoration. Given this agreement, the Army will not perform any further investigation of areas that have been potentially been impacted by site demolition/restoration activities. The Army will only perform investigation of areas that have been impacted by Nike C-41 operations activities. As noted in a December 4, 2003, letter authored by USACE, Louisville District, Office of Counsel, directed to Senior Counsel for t he Chicago Park District, if CERCLA [law] contamination is discovered on the property related to DoD activities, the FUDS program will investigate (Ref. 51). All future projects, including SI activities, will require authorization by USACE legal counsel prior to initiation.

During preparation of the PA report, information regarding a new remediation objective for lead, for the migration to groundwater pathway, was inadvertently overlooked. For purposes of screening, 107 mg/kg for lead (for soils within a pH range of 6.4 to 8.7) may be applied in addition to, or in lieu of, the TCLP/SPLP values. The USACE plans to utilize the new objective during future project phases…

Site maps: USACE Louisville, Parsons. Final Preliminary Assessment Nike Site C-41.