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Ameren

Champaign council leaves groundwater ordinance alone

By Patrick Wade/The News-Gazette -- To the dismay of a health care advocacy group, the city will keep its 4-year-old "groundwater restriction ordinance" after a council vote on Tuesday night.

Opponents of the ordinance said it gives corporations a free pass on cleaning up contaminated properties, but in general, the city council disagreed. The majority of representatives on Tuesday indicated they were unsure repealing the ordinance would accomplish the goal of encouraging the cleanup of contaminated sites.

Council member Marci Dodds said it could, in fact, discourage cleanup and subsequent redevelopment of contaminated properties.

"I prefer cleanup to no cleanup," Dodds said.

Acton Gorton/CU-CitizenAccess.org - A sign sits in the front yard of a house in the 5th and Hill streets area near a toxic cleanup site. Neighbors of the site are concerned that the cleanup by Ameren Illinois won't be enough to protect them from further toxic hazards, such as groundwater contamination.
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Champaign County health care group demands EPA look at pipeline

By Illinois Public Media News - A health care advocacy group is renewing its call on the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to investigate an underground pipeline in Champaign’s Fifth and Hill neighborhood.

Champaign County Health Care Consumers held a news conference Tuesday in the neighborhood, and cited a recent report that identified chemical waste in the pipeline know as “coal tar” as petroleum-based. The group’s executive director, Claudia Lennhoff, said the toxins are likely linked to a gas manufacturing plant that had been in the area from 1887 until 1953.

Dan Petrella/CU-CitizenAccess - Dan Petrella/CU-CitizenAccess - The 5th & Hill Neighborhood Rights Campaign believes this pipe once carried waste from the manfacutred-gas plant to Boneyard Creek. The city of Champaign plugged the pipe, but officials doubt it's connection to to the Ameren Illinois-owned site.
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Excavation work at 5th and Hill site sparks outrage from health care group

By Sean Powers/Illinois Public Media - Excavation work continues at the site that once housed a manufactured gas plant in Champaign.

Ameren Illinois is working on the corner of 5th and Hill Streets to clear soil that is suspected of having traces of the pollutant coal tar.

Most of the work to remove the soil has taken place underneath a large protective tent, but on Thursday workers dug about three feet of dirt outside of the tent.That sparked concerns from the health care advocacy group, Champaign County Health Care Consumers.

The group said a monitoring device that checks for dangerous chemicals went off, raising the possibility that nearby communities might be at risk.

Sean Powers/Illinois Public Media/A bulldozer removes soil that is suspected of having traces of the pollutant coal tar on the corner of 5th and Hill Streets in Champaign on Thursday, June 9, 2011.
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Champaign agrees to plug pipe near Boneyard Creek

By Illinois Public Media News - An environmental group says Champaign is doing the right thing by plugging a pipe suspected of having dangerous chemicals located near the Boneyard Creek.

Champaign County Health Care Consumers reported in March that findings from environmental experts show pollutants exist in an old pipe that extends from the site of a former manufactured gas plant at Champaign’s 5th and Hill Streets.

Dan Petrella/CU-CitizenAccess - The city of Champaign has agreed to plug this pipe near Boneyard Creek
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Tests confirm toxins found in Boneyard Creek site

By Illinois Public Media News - A health care advocates group says the findings of environmental experts from a Boneyard Creek pipeline confirm their fears about contaminants. 

Champaign County Health Care Consumers brought in the researchers to investigate the old pipe that extends from the site of a former manufactured gas plant at Champaign’s 5th and Hill Streets owned by Ameren.  Grant Antoline, an activist with the group, says lab results confirmed there was coal tar in the pipe, and it contained organic compounds like benzene, and hydrocarbons that exceed safety standards. 

Dan Petrella/CU-CitizenAccess - Ameren Illinois' cleanup of the former manufactured-gas plant at Fifth and Hill streets in Champaign continues.
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Neighbors threaten lawsuit in campaign against toxic site

By Dan Petrella/CU-CitizenAccess - Wading in the frigid water of Boneyard Creek on Monday afternoon, a small team of community activists and environmental consultants collected samples from a clay pipe they believe once carried toxic chemicals from a nearby factory and continues to pollute the stream.

Dan Petrella/CU-CitizenAccess - Grant Antoline, left, a community organizer with the Champaign County Health Care Consumers, and environmental consultants Mark Zeko and Bob Bowcock prepare to collect samples from a pipe that believe is connected to the former manufactured-gas plant at Fifth and Hill streets.
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Champaign council recommends case-by-case review for groundwater ordinance

By Illinois Public Media News - Champaign’s City Council has recommended that it consider repealing the city’s groundwater ordinance – but on a case by case basis. 

A capacity crowd attended Tuesday night’s 4-hour study session, urging the council to force the Illinois EPA and Ameren to conduct a full remediation of the former manufactured gas plant site at 5th and Hill streets, that includes neighboring properties.

Resident Lillian Driver operates a day care out of her home, where evidence of 6 different chemicals was revealed in a recent test.

Dan Petrella/CU-CitizenAccess - Ameren Illinois' cleanup of the former manufactured-gas plant at Fifth and Hill streets in Champaign continues.
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Neighbors, environment experts discuss former toxic site

By Dan Petrella/CHAMPAIGN -- Residents of a Champaign neighborhood surrounding a former manufactured gas plant have gained a new ally in their push to change a law that they believe allows the power utility AmerenIP to leave contaminated groundwater at the site.

Acton Gorton/CU-CitizenAccess/A tent covers the site of a former manufactured gas plant that is now undergoing cleanup operations. The site is located at Fifth and Hill streets in Champaign.
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