Environmental Remediation Project to Begin at Site of Former Gas Plant in Jacksonville

By Benjamin Cox on March 23, 2021 at 9:01am

Ameren Illinois is beginning an environmental remediation project at the intersection of Anna Street and South Sandy Street in Jacksonville.

Ameren Illinois is continuing to advance environmental remediation on a project begun in Jacksonville at a former manufactured gas plant at the intersection of Anna Street and South Sandy Street.

Ameren has enrolled this remediation Site in the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Site Remediation Program. This is a voluntary cleanup program administered by the Illinois EPA. Dave Palmer of Ameren says that the coke gas plant dated back to the 19th Century in the city.

This was a gas produced by essentially baking coal in an oxygen-free environment. It was a predecessor to natural gas and it was initially used for lighting in the area, ultimately heating, and cooking, and then was replaced by natural gas probably in the 1930s. This site specifically was built in 1855, and started production in ’58 as the Jacksonville Gas Lighting Company, Illinois Powerbox Company from 1923 and operated till 1932.”

Palmer says that most work will involve soil compaction at the substation and will have little effect on neighboring properties.

A similar approach for the former substation parcel impacts a bit deeper there so there’s gonna be a combination of excavation and soil stabilization. You basically mix in cement and some other additives into the soil to lock up the chemicals so they can’t move, given the depth. You’ll see typical construction site activity loaded with excavators and dump trucks, that sort of thing. You know, nobody wants traffic. That’s the biggest impact on the community. We’ve collected quite a few samples of soil and groundwater. We’ve got a good model of the subsurface to the extent of the impact. Most of the impact we’re addressing this time is very deep, as much as 55 feet. We’ve also taken vapor samples in the vicinity of neighboring properties including the nearby restaurant and there are no signs of chemicals in the subsurface.”

Palmer says the work is expected to begin next month and be completed by the end of the year. Work at the site will occur weekdays from 7 AM to 7 PM with some occasional work on the weekends. If you have questions about this project, please contact Brian Bretsch at 618-343-8087 or email bbretsch@ameren.com. Should you want to discuss the Illinois EPA’s oversight role, please contact Jay Timmat at 217-557-4972 or email jay.timm@Illinois.gov.