Demolition Disaster to Daisies and Dandelions

We at Pioneer Engineering & Environmental Services (Pioneer) would like to share another success story, this one playing out over the course of almost a decade.

On a hot summer day in 2010, Pioneer visited a 12-acre former asphalt manufacturing plant in Southern Illinois. The property had recently been placed under a Seal Order by the Illinois EPA, thereby barring any non-agency-authorized access, due to the contaminant conditions and in the interest of public health.

Debris Piles

At the request of our Client, Pioneer met the Illinois EPA and USEPA to walk the site and develop a plan for addressing an un-permitted demolition of the facility. Along with snakes, wasps, and mosquitoes, the surface of the site was covered with asbestos-containing materials and the air was filled with the unavoidable smells of petroleum products. The source of the odors? Sixteen aboveground storage tanks (ASTs) with capacities ranging from 35,000 to 358,000 gallons each had been cut to near ground level, with pipes haphazardly removed, allowing residual asphaltic and petroleum products to leak onto the ground surface and leaving oil slicks hundreds of feet in length.

Degraded Fiber Drums with Asphalt Materials

Fast forward to 2019 and years of regulatory negotiations: Pioneer has completed the USEPA enforced removal action and obtained a release from the Administrative Order on Consent (AOC) under the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA). The remedial actions included the removal of all remaining ASTs, decommissioning of skimmer and oil/water separator units, asbestos abatement and demolition of all on-site buildings, removal of a 5,000-gallon diesel underground storage tank, cleanup of a quart-sized can of liquid mercury, off-site disposal of nearly 1,700 tons of asbestos-containing materials, sampling and disposal of over 300 55-gallon drums, and removal and disposal of over 4,000 tons of petroleum-contaminated soils.

Stacked Drums

Following the removal actions, barriers were installed in certain areas to cap residual contaminants. Considering the site has no current redevelopment plans, Pioneer suggested and the Client agreed to planting a pollinator blend of seeds over approximately 1.5 acres of the cap to provide habitat for the aforementioned snakes and their friends.

Site in 2018

If you need assistance moving your project forward, contact Pioneer.

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