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Benzene Contamination Fears in Roxana Illinois

Maria Keena June 22, 2011 1:54 AM

ROXANA, IL (KMOX) – Twenty-five years later, the Village of Roxana Illinois is being tested for known Benzene contamination. In 19-86 nearly nine-thousand gallons of Benzene leaked into the ground from a Shell Refinery pipeline. Connoco Phillips now runs the refinery, but Shell is still assuming the responsibility.

Last night,  dozens of residents heard from the Illinois E-P-A and Department of Public Health about the contaminated areas. Property owner and life long resident Dale Carroll says over a year ago, test wells were being drilled around Roxana and it was all very hush, hush. But Carroll is not surprised. In 1986, he owned a building right where the Benzene spill happened and it was not until 19-99 that the City of Roxana terminated Carroll’s lease and bought him out. Since then, the building has been vacant.

Illinois E-P-A spokesman Chris Cahnovsky says Shell has been addressing ground water contamination for over 20-years. But recent testing reveals it’s still a problem. In addition to the presence of Benzene, testing has also revealed high levels of hydro-carbons. Cahnovsky contends the levels were not high enough to have people leave their homes. Instead in one house, they told the occupants not to sleep in the basement.

Residents are not comfortable with that explanation….They say some Roxana residents have developed different types of Cancer, including Acute Myelogenous (AML) Leukemia,  associated with Benzene exposure. Some of the town’s people have already filed suit.

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