Ameren testing ground at former Galva gas site

Doug Boock
Workers with testing company Environmental Management Resources take soil samples and readings in Galva on Tuesday, part of a study being initiated by Ameren Illinois.

Ameren Illinois is conducting an environmental investigation of the soil and groundwater at a former manufactured gas plant (MGP) in Galva.

The study, which began Tuesday, is taking place near the intersection of Northeast 1st Street and Northeast 1st Avenue. That site – known to many as the former Briegel Method & Tool Company and Bixby-Zimmer’s – hosted an MGP that produced gas from 1882 to 1931, according to Ameren.

Preliminary tests indicated that gas plant residues are below the surface of the ground and the possibility for human contact is limited if the soil is not disturbed, Ameren said.

Environmental Resources Management of St. Louis, Mo. is doing the testing.

At times, workers might wear protective suits or respirators to avoid direct contact with unacceptable levels of chemicals or vapors.

But, Ameren said in a press release, “This does not mean that there is any risk to the general public outside the work area. Great care is taken to ensure that the public is protected during these investigations. Air monitoring will be performed during work activities to ensure that there is no harmful release of vapors, and persons not involved with the study will be kept away from active work areas.

“There will be little inconvenience to the surrounding neighborhood,” Ameren added.

Ameren expects the work to be completed this fall. The report will be reviewed for approval by the Illinois EPA, likely several months later. It will also be available for review at the Galva Public Library, as will additional investigation documents as they arise.

If questions, call Ameren’s Leigh Morris at (217) 535-5228 or