Pulling the plug; Old power plant will be demolished

Pulling the plug; Old power plant will be demolished The city's old power plant is destined to be demolished, primarily to remove contaminated soil under the eastern part of the building. Removing the soil is a priority of city leaders to protect Vermillion's wells, located nearby, from possible contamination. by David Lias A structure that for decades helped light up the lives of Vermillion residents will fall to the wrecking ball in approximately a year.

The Vermillion City Council has decided to go ahead with plans to demolish the city's old power plant, located below the bluff in southwestern Vermillion.

Before the building is torn down, however, items of historical significance, such as electric meters labeled "City of Vermillion" will be rescued, and the structure's interior and exterior will be photographed.

The building has been vacant for approximately 30 years. It will be demolished because soil in the area has been contaminated by diesel fuel.

Harold Holoch, Vermillion utilities engineer, said specifications likely will be prepared in April to seek bids for the project, and the contractor that is awarded the bid will be likely be given about a year's time to tear down the building and remove the contaminated soil.

The power plant was built by the city in 1931 at a cost of about $100,000. Diesel engines powered the plant's generators.

"It had four underground tanks, and each one held 20,000 gallons of diesel fuel," Holoch said. "The tanks were removed in 1998, and a considerable amount of the contaminated soil, about 70 percent, was also removed.

"A majority of the remaining contaminated soil is underneath the east side of the power plant," he added.

The power plant was last fired up in the early 1970s.

Today, the city receives its electricity from Missouri River Energy Services as its supplemental power supplier once the city exceeds its hydro-dam power allotment.

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