State, County file lawsuit against Chemtool

Local News

ROCKTON, Ill. (WTVO) — Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul and Winnebago County State’s Attorney J. Hanley filed a lawsuit against Chemtool for the June 14th fire at it’s Rockton plant.

The six-alarm fire burned for several days, caused explosions and prompted evacuations.

The lawsuit alleges that the fire and efforts to control the fire resulted in smoke, particulate matter, and unknown quantities of other contaminants being released into the environment.

The suit, filed in Winnebago County Circuit Court, alleges that Chemtool’s actions pose “a substantial danger to the public’s health and welfare and the environment.”

The lawsuit also includes allegations of air and water pollution, creating a water pollution hazard, and unauthorized waste disposal. Raoul and Hanley allege that firefighting foam used to suppress the fire was found in the Rock River after a pump failure.

Raoul and Hanley allege that the large volume of petroleum product stored in containers that have been compromised by the fire pose a significant threat to land and the Rock River.

“The Chemtool fire rattled the community, displaced residents, and took the combined resources and efforts of several fire departments to get under control. Although the flames have been extinguished, the hazard posed to the public and the environment continues, and Chemtool owes the community more information,” Raoul said. “My office, in collaboration with the Winnebago County State’s Attorney’s office will ensure that Chemtool is held responsible for evaluating the extent of the contamination and thoroughly remediating the damage.”

“I am grateful for the thorough and swift investigation by the Illinois EPA and Attorney General Kwame Raoul,” Hanley said. “I look forward to working with the Attorney General to protect Winnebago County’s environment and the health of its citizens.”

The suit seeks to require Chemtool to assess the extend of the contamination, and take corrective action to prevent the future release of pollutants, and pay civil penalties.

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