Fifth-Hill group excited to hear Davis' office asking U.S. EPA to check site reports
The organizer of the Fifth and Hill neighborhood group said on Wednesday that she was excited to hear that U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis' office has asked the EPA to make sure Ameren Illinois did everything it could do in its cleanup of the former site of a manufactured gas plant.
What is now a field at the corner of Fifth and Hill streets in Champaign has for years been the source of dispute between neighboring residents and Ameren. During the past several years, Ameren has excavated contaminated soils from the property under a voluntary environmental cleanup program, but residents have maintained that the utility did not go far enough in getting rid of chemicals they say remain in their neighborhood.
Though Ameren never owned the manufactured gas plant, which has long since been out of operation, it acquired the property through the decades and is responsible for its cleanup. The plant used a chemical process to turn coal into natural gas, which left behind potentially harmful byproducts like coal tar and benzene.
After reviewing what Ameren did to clean up the property, the Illinois EPA said the site was clean enough and no further remediation was necessary. Those living around the perimeter of the property say otherwise, and they fear chemicals may have intruded into their neighborhood and under their homes.
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