In late 2011 the village of DePue, Illinois, working with Nancy Loeb of the Northwestern Law Bluhm Legal Clinic engaged Groundswell Educational Films, a non-profit documentary organization and Amdur Spitz & Associates, a public relations firm. Working as a team we are able to amplify the many voices of a village. We are building a public campaign to pressure ExxonMobil and CBS Viacom to fulfill their obligation to come back and clean up their toxic soil and water pollution in DePue.
Groundswell producer/director Jeff Spitz worked closely with residents to record their stories on video. Groundswell Media Producer Arlen Parsa developed the CleanUpDePue.org website. Groundswell collaborated with Dr Franz Geiger of the Northwestern University Chemistry Department to create the contamination map that illustrates the 1,976 samples collected over decades by contractors for ExxonMobil and CBS Viacom – samples that document toxic soil and water pollution throughout the Village of DePue.
Under grants from the Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern (ISEN) and the Environmental Chemical Sciences Program of the National Science Foundation‘s Division of Chemistry, Northwestern University Chemistry student interns worked over six month to analyze, interpret, and enter the data that you see on the map.
The sample data, obtained from the IL EPA via the Freedom of Information Act, was created by the contractors hired by the responsible parties (ExxonMobil and CBS Viacom), and was digitized by Northwestern interns. This website was the product of more than six month’s work and was released to the public via this website on August 15, 2012.
This website was made possible with a grant from the Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern University (ISEN).
Programmer/designer – Arlen Parsa, Groundswell Educational Films
Northwestern data entry team:
Project manager for Dr. Franz Geiger – Sarah (Saslow) Gomez, PhD candidate, Northwestern University
Eugenia Miranti, class of 2012
Michael Narea, class of 2013
Heather Tennant, class of 2014
Paige Wzorek, class of 2014
Produced & Directed by Jeff Spitz, Groundswell Educational Films
Shot & Edited by Arlen Parsa,
Additional camera by Jeff Spitz
Music by Chris Zabriskie was used in some of the videos.
Project Lead – Nancy Loeb, Northwestern Environmental Law Clinic
Alyssa Huff, Northwestern Environmental Law Clinic
Principal – Jennifer Amdur Spitz, Amdur Spitz & Associates
Media Relations – Bob Benenson, Sam Spitz, Amdur Spitz & Associates
DePue Student Environmental Science Group
Keith Garcia, Science teacher
Bettyann Harrison, Science teacher
Jacob Aden, student
Veronica De la Cruz, student
Jesus Garcia, student
Adilene Gavina, student
Fernando Hernandez, student
Shawna Mitchell, student
Karina Morales, student
Servando Moreno, student