Pillsbury Mills EPA Superfund cleanup in jeopardy

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Springfield, Ill (WAND) – An EPA Superfund cleanup at the old Pillsbury Mills plant could run out of money stopping the removal of hazardous contaminants around Labor Day.

The cleanup was originally estimated to cost taxpayers up to $1.6 million dollars.  However, water flooded basements at the plant causing the EPA to underestimate the scope of the cleanup.  A project manager at the Springfield site estimates it will take an additional $350,000 to complete the work.

The basements take up 47,000 square feet.  Much of it has dangerous asbestos which must be removed.

The WAND News I-TEAM showed Congressman Rodney Davis, (R) Illinois, video of asbestos removal going on inside the plant.  Davis says he will work with Democratic Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, along with  Republican Congressman Darin LaHood, in a bipartisan effort to obtain more money for the project.  Davis says EPA needs to finish projects once they are started.

EPA says in addition to asbestos workers have discovered and removed 14 pounds of mercury, pesticides, oil and various “unknowns” from the plant.  The “unknowns” are unidentified substances.  The cleanup at the Springfield plant started in February.  Ballasts containing PCB’s have also be discovered. 

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