Duke Energy Indiana Offers to Purchase Properties Near Former Industrial Site March 7, 2007
PLAINFIELD, IND. -
Duke Energy Indiana is offering to purchase four properties immediately west of a former industrial site at North Tompkins Street and River Road in Shelbyville.
Last November, the company purchased the former manufactured gas plant site of a predecessor company to bring it up to current environmental standards. The predecessor company, Interstate Public Service Company, operated a plant which manufactured gas from coal at that location from approximately 1886 to 1926.
Duke Energy’s environmental study of the gas manufacturing site found remnants of buried structures as well as tar and other residues from the former gas production and storage operations on the property.
Duke Energy’s studies also found tar on small portions of three neighboring residential properties immediately west of the site. The tar was deep in the ground, approximately 15 to 30 feet below the surface.
The company believes that this material may also be present on the fourth property to the west of the site.
“The chemical compounds detected in the surface soils of the neighboring property immediately west of the site 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,” said Glenn Hauser, Duke Energy senior environmental scientist. “Our experts have told us the levels of chemical compounds on this property would need to be much higher to pose an immediate health risk.”
Duke Energy Indiana, formerly known as PSI Energy, is offering to purchase the additional properties because it believes it will be required to remediate and monitor the properties over a long period of time in order to comply with today’s environmental standards.
“We expect the studies to be a lengthy and complex process, and, unfortunately, any remediation effort could be a significant inconvenience for these homeowners, so we’ve offered to purchase the properties,” Hauser said. “Certainly any purchase decision is up to the individual homeowners, and if they wish to stay in their homes, we will do our best to accommodate their preferences and minimize the disruption caused by our work.”
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 Energy Indiana is working in cooperation with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management on the Shelbyville project and 22 other Indiana manufactured gas plant sites.
Before pipelines brought natural gas to the Midwest, gas was manufactured from coal and oil 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 gas-making process in the 1920s involved heating coal and oil and drawing away the resulting gas, purifying it and distributing it to the community. Gas production created byproducts, such as tar, which was typically sold for use in roofing and road paving materials or burned as fuel. When the gas plants were closed, some tar and other residues often remained on the property. While it was not the case during the time of gas manufacturing, these residues need to be addressed to meet today’s environmental standards.
Duke Energy Corp., one of the largest electric power companies in the United States, supplies and delivers energy to approximately 3.9 million U.S. customers. The company has nearly 37,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity in the Midwest and the Carolinas, and natural gas distribution services in Ohio and Kentucky. In addition, Duke Energy has more than 4,000 megawatts of electric generation in Latin America, and is a joint-venture partner in a U.S. real estate company.
Duke Energy’s Indiana operations provide 7,300 megawatts of safe, reliable and competitively priced electricity to more than 760,000 electric customers, making it the state’s largest electric supplier.
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: www.duke-energy.com.