After Fire, Illinois Reports Plant Owner To State For Pollution And Environmental Breaches

Chemtool, the chemical company whose Rockton factory erupted in flames on Monday, was sent to Illinois authorities for pollution and environmental breaches.

The Rockton fire chief warned that the fire at the grease, lube, and oil plant might turn into an “environmental nightmare” when it started on Monday.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has asked the state attorney general to force Chemtool to “immediately halt the release and produce documentation” concerning the fire’s origin, as well as an estimate of sulfuric acid mist, particulate matter, and other air pollutants it has released.

“We understand this action, and we will, of course, engage with state and federal regulators to address the issues stated in the referral,” said Alicia Gauer, a Lubrizol representative. “As we have done since the event began, this would involve working to resolve any environmental problems and completing a site clean-up after the fire has been extinguished.”

The US Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, or CSB, said in a statement released Tuesday that all 70 personnel were successfully evacuated from the plant, with one fireman suffering a minor injury.

According to the CSB, a bigger team of federal investigators will arrive shortly, and air quality “continues to remain within an acceptable range.”

“At this time, the incident appears to be a fire rather than a chemical process safety problem. Employee interviews may provide further light on the circumstances that led up to this occurrence, and the potential for serious consequences for the community and environment should be a source of worry “CSB contributed to the article.

Because of concerns that fire suppressants would become toxic runoff in a nearby river, firefighters said Monday that they might let the chemicals burn off. However, the CSB said the initial approach “has been reassessed, and the plan now is to berm and boom the river access and extinguish the remaining blaze.”

It added, “This might add an environmental effect aspect to the event dynamic.”

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