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NPL Site Narrative for Central Illinois Public Service Co.

Taylorville, Illinois

Federal Register Notice:  August 30, 1990

Conditions at proposal (June 24, 1988): Central Illinois Public Service Co. (CIPS) formerly operated a coal gasification plant on a 1.0-acre site in Taylorville, Christian County, Illinois. The site is bordered by Webster Street and Manners Park on the east, the CIPS pole storage yard and N&W Railroad on the west, private residences on the north, and a large wooded area to the south. The site currently consists of an office building with a gravel parking lot to the west and an undeveloped lot to the south.

The gas plant was constructed in 1892 and operated by Taylorville Gas and Electric Co. until 1912, when it was acquired by CIPS. Operations stopped in 1932. CIPS sold the property in 1961.

In producing a commercial fuel, the process generated coal tar, which contains polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and other impurities that were periodically removed and sold or given away for use as road oil, roofing tar, or a pesticide. When CIPS abandoned the facility, the aboveground structures were razed. Underground tanks and other equipment remained in place. The tar remaining in the tanks was covered with miscellaneous debris and fill.

Contamination at the Taylorville site was first suspected when Apple Construction Co., which acquired the site in April 1985, was excavating a trench for a septic tank drainage line. The trench was directly adjacent to and east of a storage tank. Workers noted strong odors, discoloration of the excavated soils, and a dark viscous material throughout the soil. CIPS was notified of the problems and immediately began an investigation.

By mid-1986, CIPS confirmed the presence of PAHs, including benzo(a)pyrene, anthracene, and phenanthrene, as well as benzene and toluene, in soils and ground water within the site boundaries.

Soils/sediments and ground water off-site and, to a lesser extent, surface water are similarly contaminated. An estimated 12,700 people obtain drinking water from public and private wells within 3 miles of the site. Contaminants were found as far away as the South Fork of the Sangamon River, 0.4 mile from the site. Local surface water is used for recreational activities.

The site is partially fenced, making it possible for people and animals to come into direct contact with hazardous substances.

In December 1986, CIPS purchased the site from Apple Construction Co. In January 1987, CIPS began preliminary remedial activities at the site consisting of excavation and disposal of contaminated soil. The materials were transported to a hazardous waste facility regulated under Subtitle C of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. In cooperation with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA), CIPS is investigating a long-term solution.

Status (August 30, 1990): CIPS has fenced the site. In cooperation with IEPA, CIPS is developing a plan to identify alternatives for remedial action.

For more information about the hazardous substances identified in this narrative summary, including general information regarding the effects of exposure to these substances on human health, please see the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) ToxFAQs. ATSDR ToxFAQs can be found on the Internet at ATSDR - ToxFAQs (http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxfaqs/index.asp) or by telephone at 1-888-42-ATSDR or 1-888-422-8737.

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