Cleaning up Ardmore’s Old Imperial Refinery

By: Teddy Safo Email
By: Teddy Safo Email

ARDMORE, Okla. -- An old oil refinery in Ardmore has been a cause of major concern among residents for decades. Now, a decision has finally been made about how and when it will be cleaned up. Environmental officials met with local residents to discuss the future of the Old Imperial Refinery site on Monday night.

Officials from the department of environment quality and the environmental protection agency spoke with a handful of concerned Ardmore residents about their plan to remove harmful contaminates from the old imperial refinery.

Waste materials such as arsenic and benzoate pyrine left behind by the old crude oil refinery have contaminated the soil for more than 70 years.

Residents say for years they have been concerned about what these contaminates could do to their health. Now, environmental officials have decided to bring in large machinery to remove the waste.

"Contractors will be on sight with heavy construction equipment they will remove the waste and take it to a landfill," Katrina Higgins-Coltrain of the Environmental Protection Agency said.

Even though they are glad to have the waste removed, these residents say they are still worried.

EPA officials say the landfill they are taking the waste to is safe, and the materials will not come into contact with humans or contaminate any surroundings. As for the old imperial refinery, once it’s all cleaned up, the land is safe for residential use.

"It can be reused unlimited variability any option will be available because we could remove the waste to acceptable levels," Higgins-Coltrain added.

The imperial refinery site is located on Highway 142 in Ardmore. The estimated cost of the clean up will be around $3 million.

Contractors are set to be on site next week, and workers will spend the next seven months removing the waste.

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