Posted on October 26, 2015
By Raymond Neupert, WSAU
Stevens Point residents will be seeing some dredging operation in the Wisconsin River near Pfiffner Pioneer Park over the next several weeks as Wisconsin Public Service does some riverbed remediation.
WPS remediation waste manager Brian Bartoszek says they’re working to clean up the mess left when an old coal gas plant was torn down in the 60s. “It was a plant that manufactured gas from coal. This was how they made gas before the availability of natural gas and propane. Remnants from that plant were left on site and in the river adjacent to that site and that’s what we’re cleaning up.” The leftover remains consisted of coal tar and other volatile materials. The toxic sediment was recently detected again, and the company is working to clean up the site.
The plant operated in Stevens Point from 1905 through the mid 1940s. Bartoszek says this is an effort to remediate the mistakes that were made while the plant was in operation. “Back then there were no environmental laws or regulations like there are today. When you wanted to dispose of something you just let it run out or drain out or leave it on site, and that’s what we’re dealing with today.”
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