MADIGAN: OWNER ORDERED TO CLEAN UP HAZARDOUS WASTES LEFT BEHIND AT CLOSED FACTORY
Chemicals Discovered at Facility Pose Danger to Neighboring Residents
Chicago - Attorney General Lisa Madigan has obtained an interim court order requiring the owner of a closed metal plating company to clean up and remove illegally stored hazardous wastes that pose a threat to nearby homes and businesses in Bridgeport.
A Cook County judge yesterday ordered James L. Mazzochi, doing business as Chicago Plating Company, to secure the former factory at 1400 W. 31st Place, Chicago, and to take immediate steps to eliminate the risks associated with the improper storage and handling of hazardous wastes at the facility. Mazzochi also was ordered to remove and dispose of all wastes according to federal and Illinois law. Madigan filed a complaint on May 7, 2008, alleging numerous violations of environmental law regarding improper handling of hazardous wastes.
“With such dangerous chemicals left behind, it now appears evident why inspectors were not welcomed to visit Chicago Plating,” Madigan said. “The danger to the Bridgeport community from these chemicals and the residue left behind can only be alleviated by a total cleanup of this factory to bring it into compliance with the law.”
On two occasions, Mazzochi refused requests by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to inspect the site. As a result of an administrative inspection warrant obtained by Madigan’s office, IEPA inspectors and Cook County law enforcement officials inspected the facility on March 28, 2008, and discovered the presence of hazardous wastes, including materials containing chromium, lead and cyanide, which had been left in open tanks, unlabeled drums and unmarked pails. The IEPA referred the matter to Madigan’s office for enforcement in late April. According to Madigan’s complaint, hazardous waste containing cyanide had allegedly been dumped or spilled on the floor. Mazzochi had told the IEPA that he neither stored nor generated hazardous waste at the site.
The court ordered Mazzochi to submit a site cleanup plan to the IEPA for review and approval within 21 days, and to remove all illegally stored waste according to an approved schedule. The waste removal plan must be completed with the oversight of a licensed professional engineer.
Until all the waste is removed, Mazzochi must secure the site to prevent releases of hazardous waste due to trespassing or vandalism. After waste is removed, the Mazzochi will meet with Madigan’s office and the IEPA to arrange for the final closure of the site.
Assistant Attorneys General Christopher Grant and Vanessa Cordonnier are handling the case for Madigan’s Environmental Bureau.