While a debate rages over who will pay for the clean-up, there's still no plan on how to clean-up a Superfund contamination site in Ashland County.

It's been a while since coal tar contamination was discovered at the site of an old manufactured gas plant in Ashland. John Robinson, the DNR's Superfund coordinator for the northern region, says they started investigating the site in the early 90's.

Today, he says, they still don't know the impact of the contamination on people or the environment. The coal tar and the chemicals it contains can be found in the soil, ground water the sediment of Chequamegon Bay.

As for why it's taking so long, Robinson says the DNR nearly completed a remedial study of its own in the late 90's but citizens petitioned to have the site placed in the federal Superfund priority list and the process started all over again.

Robinson says public hearings will be held later this year on clean-up efforts and hope to have a remedial plan in place by the end of the year with goal of cleaning up the contamination as quickly as possible.

The EPA and DNR are working with Northern States Power-Wisconsin, owners of the old gas plant, and the City of Ashland on remedial efforts.

There's a debate over whether customers of the merged NSPW and Xcel Energy should be charged extra for the clean up. 

AUDIO: Jim Dick ( 1:04 MP3 )

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