The Oct. 31 bluff collapse at the We Energies power plant in Oak Creek sent coal ash and construction equipment tumbling into Lake Michigan, and several local companies are still working to clean it up.
Oak Creek-based Edgerton Contractors Inc. has assisted with earth-moving, and Milwaukee-based Edward E. Gillen Co., with overall coordination and Massachusetts-based Clean Harbors, has assisted with water cleanup, said Barry McNulty, manager of media relations and special projects at We Energies.
Ten companies in all, including six from Wisconsin, are working to repair the bluff and remove debris from the site.
The cause of the collapse, which happened near an air quality control construction project at the plant, has not yet been determined, McNulty said. Both plant operations and construction continued after the collapse.
“There’s an ongoing investigation that continues,” McNulty said. “Once that is concluded, we’ll have a better understanding.”
Dawes Rigging and Crane Rental Inc., a Milwaukee company that was working on a We Energies wind turbine project in Cambria, quickly disassembled a 440-ton capacity crane at that site and transported it to the bluff collapse site, said Joe Ruddell, rental division sales manager for Dawes.
The large crane was needed for the last heavy piece of debris yet to be moved, a filter press used for collecting and compacting sediment that weighs more than 40 tons, McNulty said.
There’s no clear sign yet when that work will be finished, but emergency work is familiar for Dawes. The company is on permanent standby with the Milwaukee County Zoo and the Air Force National Guard for emergency situations, he said.
Weather conditions will heavily impact the completion time for the project, Ruddell said.
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources tests conducted at the site on Nov. 11 showed no threat to public health or safety from the coal ash and other contamination in the lake.