Environmental Threat
Site Characterization
Man. Gas Processes
Plant Wastes
Contamination Threat Modes
Residuals - Components
Sources of MGP Liquid Effluent
FMG Plants in the US
Parallel MG Technologies
Think you've found a gas works?
Locating and Confirming a Site
Locations of US Gas Plants
FMGP In The News
FMGP In The Arts
Coal-tar Site Litigation
Related sites on the Internet
Literature of Manufactured Gas
Hatheway Harangues
Publications by Dr. Hatheway
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Hatheway Bio
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Legal Considerations

Locations of Gas Plants and Other Coal-tar Sites in the U.S.



             The vast, open spaces of mineral-rich, population-poor Wyoming were never well-suited to the development of manufactured gas, and this historic legacy has left the State essentially free of coal-tar-type waste. For Wyoming the rule of discovery of PAHs has only a few essential elements:

    • Former gas works are confined to the largest of the cities and to a limited number of frontier military posts, even then further limited by the declined activity after the Congressional support for illuminating posts only after 1880;

    • Wood treatment plants operated by several railroads, for supply of ties and bridge timbers, largely shipped East;

    • Producer gas plants employed in industry, particularly those furnishing bulk plaster and cement.

Wyoming’s first town gas works was established at Cheyenne, probably shortly after arrival of the Union Pacific Railroad, about 1869. The author’s research has not yet established the actual date, and this research for Wyoming is hampered by the rather late arrival of Daniel Sanborn’s insurance-map surveyors, who produced their first map in the State (Cheyenne) only in 1894. This is the first known depiction of an FMGP in Wyoming, yet its presence was noted by Switzler in the 1888 Annual Report of the U.S. Treasury Department (p. 839).

Gas manufacturing interests in Wyoming began as adjunct activities by electric power companies, who began to appear in the electricity boom, shortly after Edison’s invention of the incandescent light bulb. By this and the Treasury Department report, we can speculate that the Cheyenne gas works came to life probably around 1885.

The author’s current rule-of-thumb for Wyoming is that most of the State's larger towns never received manufactured gas service and that their earliest utility light came from small oil-fired electric generating stations. Typical of this scenario is the case of Sheridan, which experienced a tortuous, decade-long experiment with on and off-again gas lighting, financed from Denver, and then only after 1908. At the time, coal was not being widely mined in Wyoming and the dominantly east-west nature of its rail service precluded economical shipment of the closest coal resources, which were then located in Colorado.

A succession of light and power companies dominated manufactured gas in Wyoming and were only replaced as they, themselves, began to be served by regional natural gas pipelines, beginning in 1925 (Colorado-Wyoming Gas Co.). By 1934, the Texas Panhandle gas transmission pipeline had reached Cheyenne, and in the same decade, Wyoming natural gas was being produced and transported east, first to Nebraska.

The first of several wood treatment plants of Wyoming came into being at Cheyenne, in 1886, by which time the Union Pacific RR had organized timber cutting and drop-offs at its Wyoming rail sidings and was capable of bringing in the treatment chemicals. At first, UPRR chose the zinc-based Burnettizing process, later to be replaced with coal-tar creosote. These developments came with the need to begin replacing the railroad’s earlier timber, then well-rotted after nearly two decades of service."

In 1899 the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy RR (now Burlington Northern/Santa Fe) established a creosote-based wood-treating pressure plant at Sheridan. Some time after Riverton was established in 1906, The Chicago & Northwestern RR built a pressure plant at that location.

Laramie, the capital and university city, was without manufactured gas until about 1898, when the local company bore the name of Laramie Electric, Gas Light & Fuel Co. It is believed that the first gas manufactured at Laramie was by way of a Lowe-type carburetted water gas set. Wyoming State University (now University of Wyoming) was itself lit by gasoline-gas machines, such as was present in 1907 in the basement of Science Hall.

Producer gas plants, furnishing internal industrial fuel gas, began to appear after the turn of the century and needed only rail access to coal. These likely were clustered mainly around Cheyenne and Laramie.  Coke ovens, both of the beehive and by-product recovery type, are known to have been located in Wyoming, again, such as at Kemmerer, where rail sidings were available for in-shipment of the coal and out-shipment of the more valuable and less dense industrial fuel coke.

With the post-World War II long term Federal government interest in coal gasification, grants went to various entrepreneurs and petroleum companies alike, including one designed for the Occidental Petroleum Company, by John Blume Associates, of San Francisco.

Click the blue "EPA" link below to view the
Wyoming map of the EPA 1985 Radian FMGP Report.

Click the green "Hatheway" link below to view the
Wyoming map of Professor Hatheway's research.

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Updated: 03/26/2018  (more pending)