ISGS Expertise Aids Beach Building at Illinois Beach State Park

A tractor moving sand along the edge of Illinois Beach State ParkSupplying sand for wave transport along the shore of Illinois Beach State Park is an important part of coastal stewardship by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) to counter erosional processes. A stockpile of sand is maintained at the north end of the state park to act as a feeder beach, which is eroded by northerly waves and "feeds" sand to the beaches to the south. In recent years, the sand stockpile had become a public relations issue because of concerns that the sand included asbestos-containing material (ACM). The ACM was primarily from asbestos-cement pipe (transite) used at a former housing development on what is now state park land. Sampling and testing by the IDNR, Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS), University of Illinois Chicago, and the federal Centers for Disease Control all confirmed the minimal occurrence of the ACM and the lack of public health risk from this sand. However, to avoid future concerns, from March 12 to 23, 2007, the entire remaining stockpile of approximately 6,000 cubic yards of sand was excavated and trucked from the beach and permanently disposed at a landfill. Subsequently, from March 27 until April 6, 2007, a new supply of 26,000 cubic yards of sand from a Lake County sand pit was delivered to the park to build a new feeder beach under the guidance of the ISGS. This new feeder beach provides a sand supply that has no associated history with ACM.