Ameren to clean century-old contamination at Belleville site

BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) — Ameren Illinois says it will spend $35 million to clean a more than century-old contamination of tar and ash in Belleville. Ameren spokesman Brian Bretsch says the city-owned site of the former Belleville Gas Light & Coke Co. will be cleaned. The Belleville News-Democrat reports that the work will take about three years but when it’s finished the city will be able to redevelop the property. Belleville Mayor Mark Eckert said the city doesn’t yet have specific plans for the property. The contamination came from the process of creating gas from coal. The city used the gas in street lamps in the late 1800s. The plant closed in 1917. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency examined the site and found contaminated groundwater, among other issues.