Soil at gas plant may be hazardous

By Kathleen Foody

The results of soil samples to determine whether the site of a former gas plant at Fifth and Hill streets in Champaign is hazardous to the health of neighbors should be available by the beginning of July.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency plans to evaluate the samples taken by Ameren IP from inside and outside the land.

The summary report will be sent to neighbors of the site and local officials when completed in late June or early July, according to a press release issued by the EPA.

A community activist organization brought the site to attention earlier this year and formally requested signs be posted on the site fence “warming of contamination or some indication of hazard due to contamination.”

The EPA’s tests inside the facility determined there was no need for warning signs and it is unlikely the contamination is harmful. Ameren’s tests found any possible contamination was buried deep under the ground within the site and was not a health risk for neighbors.

The gas plant has been out of use for more than 80 years.