Contaminated soil being removed from Franklin property

Contaminated soil being removed from Franklin property

Source:, August 6, 2017
By: Annie Goeller

In the coming months, crews will begin removing truckloads of soil from a downtown Franklin property, with the goal of cleaning up contamination left behind by a former manufactured gas plant.

Duke Energy is doing the work, which will be similar to another remediation project on Home Avenue and in Province Park in Franklin in 2012.

The property, located in the 200 block of West Jefferson Street, used to be a natural gas plant from 1900 to about 1930. Crews will do soil excavation on the former plant property to remove the contents of the former gas holder, a former tar well and surrounding contaminated soils, according to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, which oversees the work.

Duke Energy proposed the plan to remove the contaminated soil in 2015, but the project was pushed back due to construction on Jefferson Street, since the work will require several dump trucks to be coming in and out of the property removing soil, spokesman Lew Middleton said.

The plan is to start work soon, though no timeline is available yet, he said. The project is expected to take about 60 days but could take longer if tests show more contamination, he said.

The project is expected to be completed by the end of this year or early next year, according to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

When the site was a natural gas plant, coal was burned to manufacture synthetic gas used for street lights and piped into homes for lighting and cooking, Middleton said. The process of extracting gas from the coal leaves behind residual chemicals, including benzine and thick tar, and at the time, that was either dumped on the ground or buried, he said.

Now, Duke Energy is in charge of cleaning those sites, and removing any contamination. That work was done on Home Avenue five years ago, and thousands of tons of dirt were removed from the properties of two homes, which Duke Energy purchased, and the nearby park.

The site on Jefferson Street is where an Indiana American Water storage tank is located, and also includes a small piece of property owned by Bastin-Logan Water Services, according to the state.

The Indiana American Water tank is above ground, with a concrete pad and surrounded in steel, so the water stored there is not in contact with the soil. The pipes that carry the water are also on the other side of the property, away from the contamination, said Joe Loughmiller, Indiana American Water spokesman. The water utility also does not use groundwater from that area, he said.

The state is requiring monitoring of groundwater, since the site is near Roaring Run Creek and Youngs Creek, and will continue to monitor the groundwater to make sure contamination is not coming off the property. During the work, air quality will also be tested, according to the state.

Duke Energy has done soil testing to determine where the contamination is and where soil needs to be removed, Middleton said. But that testing will continue to look for any other areas with contamination, he said.

The contaminated soil will be removed and replaced with clean soil, Middleton said.

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