For Immediate Release
MADIGAN: SETTLEMENT WILL RECOVER COST TO CLEAN UP CHEMICAL SPILLS AT LISLE FACTORY
Chicago – Attorney General Lisa Madigan today said that the supplier that allegedly spilled trichloroethylene (TCE) as it refilled the storage tank at a DuPage County manufacturer will reimburse the State of Illinois and local jurisdictions for costs associated with the cleanup resulting from groundwater contamination caused by the spills.
Madigan said an order filed today in DuPage County Circuit Court requires Honeywell International, Inc, a Delaware corporation, to pay $737,500 to the Hazardous Waste Fund of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA), $21,430 to DuPage County and $33,746 to the Village of Lisle to reimburse the costs incurred for the cleanup. In addition, the Attorney General’s office will receive $50,000 to recover costs incurred in the prosecution of environmental violations resulting from the spills at the Lockformer Company at 711 Ogden Avenue in Lisle.
From approximately 1970 through 1992, the company now owned by Honeywell supplied TCE, an industrial degreaser, to Lockformer to use as a degreasing agent in its manufacturing process. Toxicologists consider TCE a possible carcinogen that can cause various health problems.
“The funds derived through this settlement will be returned to the county, the Village of Lisle and to the state to cover the costs incurred and to help address other environmental issues,” Madigan said.
In January 2001, the Attorney General’s office and the DuPage County State’s Attorney sued Honeywell, in addition to Lockformer, alleging that groundwater and private wells were contaminated when Honeywell spilled TCE on the ground beneath the refilling line when replenishing Lockformer’s rooftop storage tank. In August 2001, the Village of Lisle intervened in the lawsuit.
The IEPA coordinated extensive private well testing and monitored the soil and groundwater in the vicinity of the Lockformer plant to determine the extent of any contamination caused by the TCE spills. Samples taken in the area by the IEPA showed the presence of TCE. The chemical also was found to have moved off site to private wells near the factory.
“I am extremely pleased that we were able to recoup the County’s expenses in ensuring that DuPage County residents had a clean and safe water supply,” DuPage County State’s Attorney Joseph Birkett said.
“The groundwater contamination not only resulted in risk to human health and the environment, but also consumed significant state resources,” IEPA Director Doug Scott said.
Lockformer continues to clean up its contaminated property under the terms of a July 2004 court order. Under that order, Mestek, Inc. guarantees to pay up to $3 million to ensure that the cleanup of TCE is accomplished. Additionally, in the event Lockformer does not complete the cleanup as required, the state has reserved the right to pursue Honeywell in future court actions to accomplish the task.
Supervising Attorney Elizabeth Wallace is handling the case for Madigan’s Environmental Bureau. Assistant State’s Attorneys Thomas Downing and Deborah Helms Smith are handling the case on behalf of DuPage County.