Remediation work at former gas plant site expected to end this month; Process delayed due to weather

Published 7:02 am Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Remediation work being conducted at a former manufactured gas plant site, located adjacent to the Cedar River near the intersection of East Oakland Avenue and Fourth Street Southeast, as a means to end any environmental damage is expected to finished by the end of January.

According to Matt Cullen, senior communications specialist for WEC Energy Group, the work was originally scheduled to end around December 2018, but was delayed by poor weather.

“We are continuing our remediation work at the Austin site, as our original plan was slowed by a combination of increased rainfall and cold temperatures this fall,” Cullen said.

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Minnesota Energy Resources began remediation work on the site in the fall of 2018. Cullen previously said residents might notice increased traffic and odors at the site during the remediation process. The Cedar River Recreational Trail was closed from Oakland Avenue to Fourth Street Southeast to keep the work area safe as remediation activities take place.

Initial remediation of the area was performed in 2008 by the Interstate Power & Light Co. Minnesota Energy Resources received ownership of the site in 2015 and has been working since that time to complete its remediation. The former plant that occupied the site was demolished after it ceased operations in 1935.

Once remediation is complete, Cullen said the next step is to restore the site.

“The restoration of the site will take place this spring and we expect all work will be completed by June,” he said. “Because our focus remains on completing the remediation of the site, we have not determined any future plans or use for the site at this time.”