Contaminated Soil Effecting Dozens in Vermillion County

Contaminated soil brought dozens of concerned homeowners together Thursday evening at a public meeting in Danville.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency hosted the meeting, to inform certain residents that the soil on their property could be harmful and clean-up efforts are being planned.

"Three neighborhood's were investigated, said EPA representative, Timothy Fischer.  The Tilton, the Hegeler, and the East Hegeler neighborhoods.  The Hegeler neighborhood is the only one that was affected."

The three neighborhoods surround what use to be a zinc smelting facility, where toxic levels of lead and arsenic were released into the area's soil.  Twenty-nine properties have been affected and twenty seven still need testing.  But the EPA is proposing two ways of cleaning up the dirt.  

"One involves taking the soil that we're moving, the contaminated soil, and moving back on to the Hegeler Zinc property where it originated from," said Vermillion County Health Department spokesman, Doug Toole.

It's the cheaper option.  And this time, the soil would be covered with vegetation, blocking chemicals from straying into residential areas.

"The other one, we would truck the material off to a permanent disposal facility further away," said Fischer.

That option would call for a lot of truck traffic in and out of the city.

"There's only one way in and out,” said Hegeler resident, Bryan Lawson.  You're talking 850 loads, so that's dump trucks all the time, you know, what's that going to do to our road down there."

As for how this will be paid for?

"EPA has money that we've obtained in a settlement with some of the responsible parties," said Fischer.

After getting input from the community, the EPA plans to make a decision this fall and begin the clean-up process next summer.  

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