Thanks in large measure to the advocacy of the City of Wood River, the former Amoco refinery site was named a National Brownfields Pilot Project. BP, state and federal agencies, and the City of Wood River have worked together to achieve this status and to find flexible and innovative ways to move this project more quickly through the clean-up phase into redevelopment.
This site is being approached differently than most other industrial brownfields in two essential ways. First, the agencies are permitting the site to be broken down into smaller parcels for clean-up. Rather than require the entire 800-acres site to be cleaned up before approving redevelopment anywhere on site, IEPA and US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) are allowing BP to clean up smaller, higher priority areas and submit them separately to the agencies to confirm that they are ready for redevelopment.
Second, the agencies have separated the issues of soil and groundwater clean-up. BP has put into place a groundwater clean-up system that contains contaminants in place and pumps out petroleum products from the water table. That system is anticipated to continue to operate for years to come. At the same time, BP has worked steadily to investigate and clean-up soils and "perched groundwater." Perched groundwater is water that is trapped in soils above the water table. IEPA reviews BP's work and confirms that the soil in particular parcels requires no further clean-up and can be developed upon. More than 150 acres of parcels have been confirmed as ready for redevelopment, and more than 150 additional acres are being reviewed by IEPA currently.
IEPA has recently given approval of a plan outlining how this separation of soil and groundwater clean-up issues will work if the property is redeveloped by an entity other than BP. The proposal creates a vertical parceling plan that will allow another entity to take possession of the surface and near-surface soils, while BP will keep possession and responsibility for long-term cleanup of groundwater at lower depths.
A chain link fence separates a land parcel that has been approved for redevelopment from one that is being investigated.