Roxana, IL (KSDK) - Cleanup efforts are continuing at the Wood River Refinery, as Shell Oil plans to demolish and remove houses near the refinery fence line in order to remove petroleum vapors from the soil.
The three houses in question are located on the western side of the refinery. Demolition is expected to begin in two weeks. The site is expected to be cleared four weeks after that.
Shell Oil installed a soil vapor extraction system (SVE) on the refinery property. The system utilizes a vacuum to remove petroleum vapors trapped in the soil, and then moves them through a piping system where they're eliminated by a thermal treatment unit.
However, based on soil testing from 2011, Shell wanted to install another SVE near the intersection of Chaffer and Fourth streets to speed up the removal process. Shell agreed to purchase the three homes closest to the intersection and the owners agreed to sell their properties.
A Shell spokesman said the company will also comply with environmental regulations and remove any lead paint and asbestos in the houses.
Once the houses are demolished and the sites cleared, Shell will plant grass on the lots and maintain the properties, and continue to work with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) on future steps to keep the area safe and environmentally sound.
Shell Oil opened the Wood River Refinery in 1937. ConocoPhillips acquired the facility in 2003.