S. Beloit works with state to handle barrels

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SOUTH BELOIT - South Beloit officials plan to voluntarily enter into the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) Site Remediation Program to address barrels that were buried at the site of the wastewater treatment plant.

The South Beloit City Council approved a contract with Fehr Graham, the city's engineering firm, to act as a consultant and work with the IEPA in formulating plans to address any environmental hazard the barrels might present.

In October, 31 barrels were found at the wastewater treatment plant during construction as the plant is undergoing expansion and improvement work. Initial observations indicated the barrels contain some type of petroleum product.

Public Works Superintendent Jeff Reininger said tests still have not determined what is in the barrels. He said by entering into the IEPA Site Remediation Program, it allows the city to be proactive in addressing the situation and taking the necessary steps to remove any hazards from the site.

"This is a real strong comment to the public that we have this covered," Rehl said.

Fehr Graham will formulate plans to address the situation at the site and present them to the IEPA. If the IEPA approves the plans, the city can proceed.

Reininger said he expects part of the plan will involve regular water and soil testing at the site. He said this could involve drilling wells on site, probably about 3 inches wide by about 20 feet deep, to test for any groundwater contamination.

Reininger estimates the barrels may have been buried around the time the street department shed was built since the barrels were found near the shed. That shed was built in the early 1970s. He said it is not known who buried the barrels, but they were buried on city property and the city is taking responsibility for them.

In other business, Reininger said paving of Oak Grove Avenue is expected to begin today. The paving of the road was not expected to be done this year because the weather has turned too cold for paving. Reininger said while weather conditions are not ideal, the contractor will begin the initial paving work on the road. Some follow-up work is expected to take place in the spring.

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