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U.S. EPA, Alagasco, and Huntsville Housing Authority Announce Agreement to Conduct a Removal Action at the Former Huntsville Manufactured Gas Plant in Huntsville, Alabama

Release Date: 10/19/2009
Contact Information: Sherryl A. Carbonaro, (404) 562-8611,

(Huntsville, ala. – October 19, 2009) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Alagasco, and the Huntsville Housing Authority (HHA) have today reached an agreement to complete the investigation of and conduct a removal action at the site of the former Huntsville Manufactured Gas Plant, which comprises approximately three acres of HHA’s Searcy Homes Development. EPA and the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) conducted an investigation of the presence of hazardous substances, pollutants or contaminants on the site of the former Huntsville Manufactured Gas Plant. The area of concern is located at 414-424 Dallas Avenue, NW (the Site) in Huntsville.

On October 23, 2008, EPA informed HHA of a Removal Site Evaluation Report completed on October 19, 2008. The report findings concluded that conditions at the Site met the requirements for initiating a time-critical removal action. Surface and subsurface soils on a portion of the Site contain Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) at levels that exceed EPA risk-based action levels. EPA, Alagasco (the successor to a former operator of the gas plant), and HHA (the current property owner) are developing a work plan for the Site. EPA will provide oversight during the removal action.

The Huntsville Gas Light Company (HGLC) used coal to manufacture gas on a portion of the property from 1872 to 1902. The facility was operated by HGLC and other companies using the same manufacturing process until 1946, when the company began to produce gas manufactured with propane. The facility was operated by private industry until 1949, when the City of Huntsville purchased the property and continued gas manufacturing operations. The plant began to be disassembled during the 1960s. In 1967, the Huntsville Housing Authority purchased the property from the City of Huntsville. In the early 1970s, the property, along with adjoining property, was developed into low income public housing, which received residents in 1971. Only a portion of the Searcy Homes development lies over the area of concern.

EPA and HHA have been proactive in their communication with residents about the contamination at the Site. HHA staff distributed a flyer concerning EPA findings and information on how to prevent exposure to PAHs until the removal begins. The HHA staff went door-to-door to each unit in the Searcy Homes development to inform them of the report and to document residents’ concerns. HHA offered to relocate residents living in the affected area prior to the removal if they so desired. HHA staff has been available to answer residents’ questions about the findings of the EPA investigation. EPA sent letters to each resident informing them of the investigation- and its results, and provided information to prevent exposure. Availability sessions were held at the Searcy Homes Complex on November 19, 2008 to inform residents of the contamination at the Site and to document and address residents’ concerns. The sessions allowed residents to speak one-on-one with representatives of EPA, HHA, ADEM and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Public outreach efforts will continue throughout the removal action. EPA and HHA distributed updated Site information to the residents in September 2009.

Additional information about the Huntsville Gas Company (HGC) Site is available online at, and many updates will be posted on the site over the coming months.