ANDERSON, Ind. — A contractor is heating up the soil at the site of a former central Indiana auto parts plant in preparation for a cleanup.

Electrodes planted in the soil at Anderson’s former Delco Remy plant that was razed in 1996 have boosted the ground temperature to 70 degrees (21 Celsius). That’s warm enough to begin vaporizing chemicals in the soil.

Contractor TerraTherm needs the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s approval before it can begin assessing the site’s chemical levels as part of its $4 million contract.

The site’s soil and groundwater are tainted with the chemical trichloroethene, or TCE, which the EPA classifies as a carcinogen.

The Herald Bulletin reports that the site’s groundwater will eventually be raised to water’s boiling point so chemical-tainted steam and vapor can be trapped and removed.

Information from: The Herald Bulletin,