Not just an eyesore

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CARTER COUNTY, Okla. -- Residents say it's the biggest mess in Carter County. New information says that it's not just an eyesore, it's hazardous. Now after 50 years, the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality is stepping in to clean up the oldest abandoned refinery site in Carter County.

The Imperial Oil Refinery declared bankruptcy back in 1948. Nearly sixty years later, equipment remains at the site, as well as some remnants of hazardous materials used by the company.

After years of wondering about potential health effects, residents will now have the safe opportunity to clean up the mess.

Dead trees, murky water, and little to no wildlife describe the abandoned Imperial Oil Refinery. Now experts say this area could be a huge health concern if you've lived near the old refinery for several years.

In 2000, the former Imperial Oil Refinery was put on the national priorities list.

Seven years later, the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality is asking for citizens' input about how to clean up the area.

DEQ will not release their findings from a study of the abandoned site, but they do say that wildlife is at more of a risk than human life because they are in constant contact with the pond and soil.

DEQ officials say it’s critical to get these sites cleaned up and improved.

"Our goal is to get info out and let people know what we’re doing and what’s going on. We don’t want to scare people, but we want to let people know the facts and what we plan on doing about it," says Scott Thompson of Oklahoma DEQ.

DEQ says they want as much public input as possible on this issue. Representatives say they will address all questions and concerns at their meeting on September 20th at the Ardmore Public Library.

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