What is the Orlando Manufactured Gasification Plant site?
The Orlando Manufactured Gasification Plant Site operated from about 1887 to 1960 and was located on the north and south sides of the 400-600 blocks of West Robinson Street (near Terry and Chatham Avenues). The plant was demolished in the early 1960s.
Manufactured gasification plants (MGPs) were common throughout the United States from the 1800s through the 1960s and produced gas for use in businesses and homes.
In Florida, MGP sites were very common and, in addition to Orlando, were located in Jacksonville, Palatka, Daytona Beach, Deland, Sanford, Bradenton, Winter Haven, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Tampa, Ft. Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Key West, Ft. Myers, St. Augustine, Ocala, Gainesville, Tallahassee and Miami.
How was the site contaminated?
Manufactured gas plants were considered state-of-the-art in their day, but they operated without the benefit of today’s understanding of environmental contaminants or environmental rules and regulations. As a result, both during operation and when the plants were shut down, materials were discarded and left behind in ways that would not meet today’s environmental standards.
While in operation, the MGP plant would heat coal to produce gas for cooking, lighting, heating and industrial purposes. This process created a number of byproducts and waste material that was released into the soil and upper aquifer groundwater.
What is the City’s involvement with the site?
The City of Orlando is a part of a group involved in the cleanup. Other parties in the group are Atlanta Gas Light Company, Duke Energy Florida, LLC, Peoples Gas System (a division of Tampa Electric Company), and Continental Holdings, Inc. The group is referred to as the Orlando MGP Group.
From 1989 to 2012, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and the Orlando MGP Group have conducted environmental investigations at the site. During these investigations, soil and upper aquifer groundwater contamination around the site were identified.
What is the risk from the contamination?
People living and working near the site are not at risk from the site contamination.
No contaminants from the site have been found in the municipal water supply. Drinking water for residents and businesses comes from municipal wells, which are located in a different area and at a significantly greater depth. The public water utility, OUC, continuously samples the quality of the public drinking water.
Through ongoing site investigations and groundwater monitoring, EPA, FDEP and the Orlando MGP Group continue to work to protect the public and the environment from the site contamination.
How will the site be cleaned up?
The cleanup project is being managed by the Orlando MGP Group under the direction and guidance of the EPA and FDEP.
The initial phase of the cleanup will remove near-surface contaminated soil on the site and replace it with clean dirt, concrete cover, or both.
What impact will the cleanup have on local neighborhoods?
Robinson Street will be open throughout the initial cleanup phase, but some sidewalks and parking lanes will be closed or relocated for several weeks during this period.
Work will for the most part take place during the day, avoiding nights and weekends, and contractors will be required to follow odor and dust control procedures to minimize any impact on surrounding neighborhoods.
Air quality and odors will be monitored to maintain safety standards during work.
When will the cleanup start?
The initial phase of the cleanup is expected to start in mid-March 2018 and last for about three months.
What is the next phase of the cleanup?
Design work and site investigation and testing is ongoing for other portions of the cleanup. The next phase of the cleanup is estimated to be performed in 2019.
The next phases will involve further soil remediation and address the contamination in the upper aquifer groundwater.
Additional public meetings and/or communication will be held prior to performing the other phases of the cleanup.
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