Duke Energy Indiana to Purchase, Clean Former Industrial Site
PLAINFIELD, IND.--Duke Energy Indiana, formerly known as PSI Energy, is purchasing property at North Tompkins Street and River Road in Shelbyville in order to bring the former industrial site of its predecessor company up to current environmental standards.
Duke Energy Indiana is helping the residents who live on the property relocate because the site’s buildings will be torn down in order to excavate soil and remove old, underground structures. On the property there are 22 occupied rental units, including apartments and single-family cottages and homes, and Duke Energy is taking steps to minimize any hardship for the residents.
“We know this is unwelcome news for the people who live here,” said Nisa Hensley, Shelbyville business relations manager. “Our environmental study indicates that while there’s no immediate health risk and any long-term health risk is slight, the site needs to be brought-up to modern-day environmental standards. We’re doing our best to help ease the transition for the residents.”
The company announced in August that it was doing an environmental study at the site of a former manufactured gas plant. The study found remnants of buried structures as well as coal tar and other residues from the gas production and storage operations on the property. The company is working in cooperation with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management to bring the site up to current environmental standards. Duke Energy Indiana is also meeting with neighboring property owners to make them aware of the work.
“The chemical compounds detected in the samples taken are primarily hydrocarbons, which are widespread in urban environments because they are found wherever combustion processes such as burning wood, coal, gasoline and charcoal have occurred,” Hensley said. “Our experts have told us the levels of chemical compounds on site would need to be much higher to pose an immediate health risk.”
A predecessor company of PSI Energy operated a plant which manufactured gas from coal at that location from approximately 1886 to 1928. Before pipelines brought natural gas to the Midwest, gas was manufactured to serve the energy needs of hundreds of communities. Gas lamps lit streets and buildings in the 19th century until electricity became commonplace, while manufactured gas continued to fuel cooking and heating until the mid-20th century.
The study is part of Duke Energy Indiana’s voluntary program to evaluate former manufactured gas plant sites to see if byproducts and residues may have affected the environment. As with many industrial operations, gas manufacturing created byproducts, primarily coal tar. The tar was often sold for use in roofing and paving materials when the plants were closed; however, tar and other residues may have been left on the properties, usually in underground structures
Environmental laws require former owners and operators of industrial sites such as this to investigate the properties and, if necessary, clean up the sites. Duke has voluntarily stepped forward at this time to assess this location and is sharing its information with environmental state regulators.
Duke Energy is a diversified energy company with a portfolio of natural gas and electric businesses, both regulated and unregulated, and an affiliated real estate company. Duke Energy supplies, delivers and processes energy for customers in the Americas. Duke Energy’s Indiana operations deliver safe, reliable and competitively priced electricity to more than 750,000 electric customers in portions of 69 of Indiana’s 92 counties, making it the state’s largest electric supplier. A diverse fuel mix of nuclear, coal-fired, hydroelectric and combustion-turbine generation provides approximately 28,000 megawatts of regulated generating capacity. Company operations also serve more than 500,000 natural gas customers in Ohio and Kentucky. Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is a Fortune 500 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available on the Internet at: http://www.duke-energy.com