Cleanup of coal tar in Belleville to begin soon

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BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) – A $35 million cleanup job to remove hazardous coal-tar from a downtown Belleville site will soon begin after a brief delay.

The Belleville News-Democrat reports Ameren Illinois had previously said it hoped a tent would be erected over the former Belleville Gas Light & Coke Co. by the end of May to contain hazardous materials that has contaminated the soil on the grounds of the old gas plant . The contamination is between 10-35 feet into the ground. But spokesman Brian Bretsch says other cleanup operations by Ameren around Illinois contributed to a delay as did the need to cap and reroute a storm sewer line that ran through the property.

The project is expected to be completed in 2018. The city of Belleville currently owns the property. Officials say no decision has been made on how to develop the land when the cleanup is completed.