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EPA 2007 enforcement reduces pollution in Illinois

Release Date: 11/15/2007
Contact Information: William Omohundro, 312-353-8254, omohundro.william@epa.gov, Karen Thompson, 312-353-8547, thompson.karen@epa.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
No. 07-OPA221

(Chicago, Ill. - Nov. 15, 2007) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 enforcement actions in Illinois in 2007 will reduce pollution by almost 2.6 million pounds and result in regulated entities spending more than $34 million on pollution controls to correct past environmental violations and help prevent future ones.

In the past fiscal year, EPA resolved 105 actions against regulated entities in Illinois and assessed a total of almost $1.8 million in civil penalties for various air, water, hazardous waste, pesticide and community right-to-know violations. As part of settlement agreements, Illinois regulated entities agreed to do supplemental environmental projects worth $602,434.

"EPA regional enforcement actions in the last year will result in real health and environmental benefits," said Regional Administrator Mary A. Gade. "EPA believes in firm and fair enforcement and working with our partners at the Illinois EPA to ensure cleaner air, water and land for the people of Illinois."

Among the most notable environmental actions in Illinois were:

  • A federal-state settlement with oilseed processor Bunge that will reduce pollution emissions from two Illinois plants by 1.2 million pounds and includes $3.6 million for pollution controls. Illinois is one of eight states that were part of a $13.9 million settlement with Bunge and three subsidiaries that will eliminate more than 2,200 tons per year of harmful pollution emissions from 12 plants.
  • Peoples Gas has agreed to an EPA order to conduct an engineering evaluation and cost analysis at 11 manufacture gas plants in Chicago. This will enable EPA to determine the nature and extent of contamination at these sites and any effect they may be having on the Chicago River. After completion of this work, EPA will decide on a final cleanup in consultation with Illinois EPA, the city of Chicago and area residents.
  • Johns-Manville and Commonwealth Edison have agreed to an EPA order to address asbestos-containing material at areas immediately south and west of the Johns-Manville Superfund National Priorities List property in Waukegan. Under the order, asbestos-containing material in these areas will be sampled and removed or capped so the land can be used as a soccer complex. Asbestos fibers, when inhaled, can cause cancer and scarring of lung tissue.
  • Ashland Chemical in Willow Springs has agreed to an EPA order to install a better ground water well collection system by the spring of 2008 to control the migration of volatile organic compounds in the ground water. The site was previously owned and operated by the Department of Defense and General Motors, and used in the 1950s as a jet engine testing facility. The order allows EPA to identify the facility as a hazardous waste management facility with approved controls in place, in lieu of a permit.

EPA Region 5 coordinates with state environmental agencies in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin to enforce environmental laws. State agencies also have authority to pursue their own enforcement actions.

Nationwide, EPA enforcement resulted in a record $10.6 billion in pollution controls and environmental projects.

For more information about the Region's enforcement program, go to http://www.epa.gov/region5/enforcement/fy07eoy.htm.
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