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via [ Post Trib ] “Westville Oil Refinery Will Be Cleaned” By Gitte Laasby
WESTVILLE — After more than two decades, one of the nation’s most polluted sites — the former Cam-Or waste oil refinery in Westville — will finally be completely cleaned up around 2013.
It will also mean fewer public health risks from exposure to lead and other dangerous pollutants, and improve the environment, officials said.
The companies were Cam-Or customers and helped generate the waste oil at the now-vacant 15-acre site north of Indiana 2 near U.S. 421.
The site is bordered by private homes to the east and located within the West-Tech Redevelopment Area.
Originally owned by Westville Oil, the facility operated as a refinery for reprocessing waste oil starting in 1934.
From the 1950s to 1978, waste oil discarded at the facility was stored in 11 unlined lagoons, which allowed contaminants to leach into soil, groundwater and Crumpacker Ditch.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency conducted a cleanup in 1987, treating 9.5 million gallons of contaminated water and removing about 112 drums. The agency later determined more remediation was necessary.
“The pollution at this industrial site occurred over several decades and the clean-up of contaminated soil and groundwater is expected to take years, so it was a complicated process to hammer out a legal agreement to fully fund the remediation of the site,” said Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller in a statement.
“This agreement helps resolve a lingering environmental impediment to future economic development and hopefully jobs for the LaPorte and Porter county areas.”
Groundwater along a one-mile plume extending from the site is contaminated with a solvent, benzene and other pollutants. Soil at the site is contaminated with the carcinogen benzene and heavy metals, such as lead. In June 2008, EPA decided lead-contaminated soil will be excavated and safely consolidated on-site, and contaminated groundwater will be extracted and treated.
According to the EPA, low levels of contamination have been detected in several of the private wells downgradient of the site. Read more…
Case Studies, Environment