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Toxic gas monitors dot a 70-acre former landfill site in Waukegan, Illinois, about 40 miles north of Chicago. The toxic dumping ground called Yeoman Creek Landfill was a repository for hazardous waste from homes and businesses from 1958 to 1969. In 1989, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency placed the landfill on the National Priorities List (Superfund) for cleanup.
Clean up and monitoring of the Superfund site has progressed over the last 30 years. Cleanup is mostly completed, though EPA is still monitoring the site. The site is not suitable for building construction because ground can’t be broken due to the hazard of toxic gases still underground.
But that makes the site perfect for a large-scale solar installation. According to WBEZ, a New York company is installing a 20,000-panel farm on the site, expected to be completed in 2023. The panels will provide power for more than 1,000 households each year.
If the $10 million project is successful, it can serve as a model for redevelopment of other Superfund sites as well. Another site in Waukegan actually could be a candidate for a similar project.
Greg Zimmerman is senior contributing editor for FacilitiesNet.com and Building Operating Management magazine.
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