Environmental Investigation Planned for Stevens Point Property
-- Wisconsin Public Service Corporation (WPS) will conduct an environmental investigation of property adjacent to and within Pfiffner Park in Stevens Point beginning July 9.
The property is the site of a former manufactured gas plant that operated from the 1890s in the 1940s. Manufactured gas was used in gas-burning appliances and lights prior to the use of electricity for lighting in the early 1900s and the widespread introduction of natural gas in the years following World War II.
In a manufactured gas plant, coal was heated to drive out combustible gas which was then placed in a large holder and distributed through a low-pressure system. The process also produced by-products, including coke which was used as a heating fuel and coal tars. Some of these by-products may remain on the property today, primarily in the river sediments.
WPS performed cleanup activities on the land portion of the site in 1998 by excavating and thermally treating more than 16,000 tons of soil. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources provided oversight for the land cleanup at that time. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is providing oversight for the current investigation and any remediation work that may be undertaken as a result of the findings.
The site investigation will include the installation of groundwater monitoring wells, as well as the collection of soil and river sediment samples. Since cleanup activities have already taken place on the land portion of the site, the investigation will primarily focus on the river. WPS anticipates that the current investigation activities will be completed within a month.
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