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  • over.

  • Taken by green vegetation and unrelenting rust, this 150 year old plant was once the oldest and largest working oil refinery on the U.

  • S.

  • East Coast.

  • Situated along the school Kill River in south Philadelphia, it is now undergoing one of the most radical environmental cleanups and ambitious transformations ever attempted in the United States.

  • It was a corroded pipe that federal investigators determined sparked a Siris of massive explosions in 2019 that closed the refinery for good.

  • Now the 1400 acre site is being reimagined as a new warehousing hub and office park.

  • It's a heavy lift.

  • Roberto Perez, the CEO of Hilco Redevelopment Partners, which bought the old refinery out of bankruptcy in June for $225 million says the task ahead of him will be one of the most difficult things he's ever done.

  • A Z bestest abatements by one of the largest bestest projects in the United States and not the East Coast.

  • The removal of hydrocarbons and not the good hydrocarbons and stuff that is now considered hazardous.

  • That's just getting started, and then you have to immediate 150 years of refinery operations in order for us to put it back into commerce.

  • Underneath these overgrown storage tanks are buried pipelines, rail cars and a poisonous stew of toxic waste.

  • Oil refining began here in 18, 7100 years before the EPA was created, a time when fuel byproduct was simply dumped straight onto the ground.

  • The full extent of the pollution and the steps needed to clean it up won't be fully understood for years, but a lot is riding on the outcome.

  • Abdul Mohammed and his wife, Marcela Maha, who lived near the refinery, say their quality of life has already improved since the facility shut down.

  • Now, Mohamed says, his asthmatic baby son has been sleeping through the night, and his wife's chronic headaches have become less frequent.

  • Helping so called fence line communities that are most impacted by industrial pollution is part of a pledge to achieve environmental justice made by President Joe Biden, who has committed to direct 40% of any federal investment made in clean energy toe low income neighborhoods like this one, a policy meant to direct jobs, revenue and cleanup projects their way.

  • Transforming the Philadelphia Energy Solutions plant is expected to take more than a decade and hundreds of millions of dollars to see it through, Perez said.

  • The cleanup and construction is expected to create about 13,000 jobs, with another 19,000 tied to the warehouse and office park built to service a greener economy.


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