At the intersection of Route 3 and the tail end of Long Lake (one of the few remaining bodies of surface water in the bottom) is the shuttered and fenced site of the former Chemetco plant. A secondary copper refining site, at its peak output in the early 2000s it was producing approximately half of the entire US copper output from residual sources. However, during a routine inspection, the US EPA found an illegal 10-inch discharge pipe that had been channeling waste materials—zinc oxide, lead, cadmium, and others—into adjacent Long Lake and Cahokia Canal for over a decade. Charged with felony counts in relation to violations of the Clean Water Act, Chemetco filed for bankruptcy in 2000. The site was immediately capped and is now a Superfund site recently elevated to the National Priorities List. A 13-acre slag heap still marks the eastern portion of the site, with a crude, permanent sprinkler system at work to minimize the airborne migration of contaminants. Currently the slag itself is being processed into recyclable metals—the sale of which will go toward the cleanup fund.

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