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Illinois Issues

City To Help Foot Bill For EPA Coal Tar Cleanup

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The city of Springfield has agreed to pay the EPA an estimated $1.6 million to clean up coal tar seeping out of the ground on the city's northeast side.

This fall the Environmental Protection Agency will send contractors to dig up Factory Street, about five blocks north of Lanphier High School.

The city owns part of the site where Springfield Iron Co. used to operate in the 1900's.  A power substation and water storage tank sit there today.

Springfield Mayor Mike Houston says environmental regulators are reaching into the city's pockets to pay the tab left by polluters of the past:

"While this is property that we bought some time ago and the actual incident took place more than a hundred years ago, being in the chain of title and [having] deep pockets, we are going to be responsible for the land that we own."

Aldermen voted unanimously Tuesday to approve funding for the cleanup. 

Budget director Bill McCarty plans to use any available surplus at the end of this year to pay for the project, in order to avoid dipping into the city's cash reserves.

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