Crews remove tainted soil from St. James Farm

  • It will take crews at least another week to remove contaminated soil from the St. James Farm Forest Preserve near Warrenville.

    It will take crews at least another week to remove contaminated soil from the St. James Farm Forest Preserve near Warrenville. Daily Herald file photo

 
 
Updated 12/20/2017 12:14 PM

It's going to take at least another week to finish the removal of contaminated soil from St. James Farm Forest Preserve near Warrenville.

In November, the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County hired RW Collins Co. to remove two underground fuel storage tanks. The antiquated tanks -- one with diesel fuel and the other containing gasoline -- were discovered during a $2.9 million project to bring water and sewer service to the farm.

 

Crews have since removed the tanks and were at the preserve as recently as last week removing tainted soil.

Executive Director Ed Stevenson said the project is on hold this week so RW Collins can determine how much additional work is needed.

"They're at a point now where they want to make sure they've got everything," Stevenson said. "So they will do some soil testing and wait for the results to see if there's more to go."

If tainted soil remains, he said, digging will continue until it's all removed.

On Tuesday, forest preserve commissioners agreed to spend more than $20,000 for the remediation project. It's unclear what the final cost will be.

Forest preserve President Joe Cantore said the project is an example of the district being responsive to a problem.

"We didn't hesitate," Cantore said. "We took every effort to immediately remove the contamination and move forward."

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The district has owned and maintained the more than 600 acres along Winfield Road since 2006.

Officials said the fuel storage tanks were found in an area between an indoor horse riding arena and the main parking lot. They are believed to be decades old and were used when St. James was an operating farm.

Despite the soil contamination, work is continuing on the installation of water and sewer mains at the farm. Other crews are working on a roughly $3.1 million project to renovate and expand the arena.

Both projects are expected to be completed by the end of May.

Getting water service is important because it will allow buildings at St. James Farm to be opened to the public. The property is open to forest preserve users, but residents can't spend time inside the stables or other historic buildings.

"We have an incredible array of programs there now," Cantore said. "Once the water is put in ... it's going to be one more jewel in our forest preserve system."

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