CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — A new report reveals toxic levels of potentially harmful chemicals in the ground near a populated neighborhood.

These findings could interfere with a major redevelopment coming to the city. The concern centers around groundwater contamination. A manufactured gas plant at 5th and Hill Street closed in 1953. Ameren now owns it.

Champaign County Health Care Consumers (CCHCC) has investigated the issue, saying that coal tar chemicals from the plant site have been seeping into the area for more than a decade. Now the city is getting involved because the problem could affect their work at the Boneyard Creek redevelopment project.

The city engineer says if they find contaminants at the site, they would deal with the problem during the construction. The city hired a company to test the area near 5th and Hill and Boneyard Creek before the redevelopment starts in a couple years. They found toxicity levels of harmful chemicals that exceed the EPA’s health and safety standards.

CCHCC’s concern is for the well-being of people who live nearby. Director Claudia Lennhoff says, “Tere can be rare cancers, which we’ve seen in the neighborhood. There can be neurological damage, including in children. We’re especially concerned about children and people who are frail or have compromised immune systems or folks where are older.”

CCHCC wants Ameren to be held accountable to clean all the contamination associated with the site. The company is required to post test results on the ground water four times a year. Earlier this year WCIA told you those results hadn’t been posted since 20-15. The company recently updated their website with current data.

They city says if they do end up having to clean up chemicals at the Boneyard Creek construction site, they would pay for it out of the project funds initially. Then, between the city and Ameren, they would let their lawyers hash out who is responsible for it.