Roxana residents worry about benzene contamination, despite free testing


by staff

Posted on October 26, 2012 at 5:39 PM

Updated Saturday, Oct 27 at 2:25 PM

Roxana, Illinois

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ROXANA, Ill. (KMOV) -- Some residents in a small Metro-East community say they are still worried about residual chemical contamination from a former Shell oil refinery, despite the company's cleanup and testing efforts.

Three homes in west Roxana have tested positive for high levels of methane and benzene, which causes cancer. These homes will soon be demolished as part of a cleanup effort by Shell.

Dale Carroll has lived in Roxana more than 60 years, and owns several rental properties.

"I've had two different cases where people moved out, and the reason they moved out was because they were afraid of the benzene," Carroll said.

Gina Search, with the Illinois EPA, says similar levels of contamination have not been found in other area homes.

"We have not found additional homes that have problems that are comparable to the ones that have been demolished," she said.

Shell has said after the three homes are demolished, the company will install an additional system to remove underground vapors.

EPA officials said Shell provides free contaminant testing for residences in Roxana, but so far only 30 percent of homeowners have taken advantage of the offer.