Citing an imminent danger of fire or explosion from leaking chemicals, Environmental Protection Agency officials have begun cleaning up chemicals at a former recycling plant in North Salt Lake.

The 6.3-acre Petrochem site, 1628 N. Chicago, housed active operations until March, first as an oil refinery and then as a recycling plant. Numerous vats, tanks, pits and containers of hazardous waste were found on the property.Recently a 6-foot chain link fence was constructed, and EPA began sampling at the site.

Soil is contaminated within the plant site, and chemicals have leaked off site, officials said. The cleanup is sponsored by the EPA and the Utah Solid and Hazardous Waste Bureau.

"Waste has seeped across north Chicago Street and adjacent private property, pooling in a low-lying area along the railroad tracks," said Pete Stevenson, the EPA's on-site coordinator. "In addition, a warehouse at the site contains approximately 900 drums in various stages of deterioration."

Because some drums contain volatile organic compounds, there's a potential for fire and explosion.