The project to tear down several homes is underway in Roxana in connection with the discovery of benzene in the soil. Shell Oil Company recently purchased three homes that sit across from the current Wood River Refinery, and will use the soon to be vacant property to construct a soil vapor extraction system. The remediation project by Shell includes the demolition of the three homes, the first of which at 147 Fourth Street, was torn down on Thursday.
Two other homes on the block will be taken down after being purchased by the company, and the site will become ground zero for the Shell operation to monitor soil vapors and remove any harmful products. The issue of benzene in the soil has become a sometimes contentious one with the Village of Roxana filing suit against Shell over the contamination, along with other individual class action lawsuits that have been filed in recent years. Shell is the previous owner of the refinery, which is currently operated by Phillips 66.