Gas plant cleanup enters next phase

Posted 4/7/20

MENDOTA – Work is continuing with the clean-up process of the former manufactured gas plant at 501 Ninth Ave. in Mendota, on the Black Bros. Co. property.

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Gas plant cleanup enters next phase


MENDOTA – Work is continuing with the clean-up process of the former manufactured gas plant at 501 Ninth Ave. in Mendota, on the Black Bros. Co. property. Nicor Gas and Commonwealth Edison are partnering in the cleanup effort with oversight by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency in the Site Remediation Program.

According to Bernie Anderson, regional manager of community affairs with Nicor Gas, “As the impacts of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) grow, Nicor Gas would like to reassure you that we have comprehensive plans and processes in place to address the implications of the outbreak while maintaining safe, affordable, reliable service.

“Although an order has been issued by Gov. J.B. Pritzker to stay at home, Nicor Gas operations are considered Essential Infrastructure work and will continue during this time, subject to social distancing where possible and additional precautions. Employees and contractors will practice social distancing when interacting with the public and also wear personal protective equipment, when necessary and appropriate.”

Anderson said crews are installing a temporary fabric enclosure over most of the area to be cleaned up. It will be constructed in sections using a large crane, which then will be moved off-site. The temporary enclosure will help minimize dust and potential odors during the majority of the cleanup. The enclosure will be relocated once during the cleanup and then removed.

Anderson continued by stating that soils exceeding Illinois EPA standards and remnants of below-ground structures will be removed and disposed at a licensed facility. The excavation will then be filled with clean stone and soil.

Anderson outlined what Mendota residents can expect to see and hear in 2020:

  • Trucks will be entering and leaving the project site taking away excavated soil and remnant structures to a licensed disposal facility and bringing in clean backfill to the site. Trucks will be covered and cleaned before leaving the site. The truck routes have been developed with input from the city of Mendota.
  • Work will typically be conducted on weekdays during daytime hours. Occasionally, work may occur on a Saturday. People who are nearby during active work at the site can expect to hear large excavating equipment.
  • Air handling equipment has been brought on-site and installed. The air handlers will need to operate round-the-clock to maintain a negative pressure environment within the enclosure.
  • While the cleanup is in progress, you may notice occasional odors similar to moth balls or road paving materials. These odors become noticeable at levels well below those that would present a health risk. Working within the temporary fabric enclosure will minimize odors and air emissions.
  • An air monitoring program is used to demonstrate that there are no adverse impacts to air quality in the surrounding area. Dust and air emissions are monitored with portable devices in the immediate work area and by stationary air monitoring equipment located near the site’s perimeter. The monitors provide information to the site workers so abatement actions can be taken as work progresses, if needed.
  • In keeping with standard health and safety procedures, workers performing certain activities on-site will wear personal protective equipment including Tyvek coveralls, which are one-piece garments (usually white) commonly worn by mechanics, painters and laboratory workers where a disposable, one-time use coverall is needed. The work performed on-site is often messy and workers choose to wear these garments to keep their clothes clean. These garments are worn for a variety of reasons and their use does not mean there is a hazard to the public.

For more information about the project, visit, email, or call Anderson at (309) 261-4155. Also, an information repository has been set up at the Graves-Hume Public Library.