CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) – Neighbors in one Central Illinois community have been concerned about toxic soil for decades. The company now working to address the problem is taking another step to clean up the mess.

Ameren Illinois crews are set to finish up another round of sifting through contaminated soil. It’s all stemming from a plant that was on the site for more than a century.

Neighbors have said the equipment has been out there for months. They’re taking out the old soil, and putting in new. This is the site where a manufactured gas plant used to sit.

For years, neighbors in the area have been calling for Ameren to be more transparent as it investigates contamination in the community. They said the lingering toxins from the gas plant is a hazard for the people who live in the homes here.

We talked to a man who’s lived there for over 40 years. He said he feels the toxins have impacted people and homes up and down the street.

“Majority of the people in the area have either passed away or something from cancer. So, it’s gotta be related to that, because no way the majority of the neighborhood would not have had cancer. Both my parents died of cancer, I know my neighbor has cancer, I know a couple people around the corner have a cancer, a couple around the block passed away from cancer. So, I’m sure it comes from the ground,” Danis Pelmore said.

We did reach out to Ameren Illinois about the project. They told us they’ve been working with the plant that had been there and the Illinois EPA for years.

They said that plant left impacted soil with coal tar and they’ve been able to remove most of that over the years through excavating and replacing it with clean soil. They’re hoping this is the last step to get the all clear from the EPA.

City leaders said 5th Street between Church and Washington will be closed until early May. The next step about what happens with this piece of land is still a question mark for Ameren.