The former Koppers Wood-Treating site, located in the northeast corner of Carbondale, dates back to 1902 when the Koppers Co. treated railroad cross ties, utility poles and other wood products. Until the plant closed in 1991, wood products were treated with chemical preservatives, including creosote. Pentachlorophenol, or PCP, was also used until Koppers stopped using it in the mid-1980s. While the plant operated, handling and storage of chemicals caused spills, resulting in the pollution of soil, ground water (large reservoirs of water underground), creek mud and water within Glade Creek, Piles Fork Creek, Smith Ditch, Crab Orchard Creek and a small pond on the site.
Beazer East Inc. - the current owner of the property - has conducted numerous studies of the site to learn more about the location, amount and type of contamination. This work was done under the supervision of first the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, then U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The federal EPA issued a cleanup proposal - called a statement of basis - for public review in August 2003, and issued a final cleanup decision in June 2004. Beazer began the cleanup in summer 2003 and will continue through 2006. The site will be monitored for at least 30 more years.