Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Crown Chemical Fined for Dumping Caustic Waste into Local Water Supply

Jim Spain, former president of Crown Chemical in Crestwood iL, has plead guilty to illegally dumping chemical wastes into a regional sewer system. He gets off easy with a fine, home confinement and a year's probation. Crown Chemical Inc., which also pleaded guilty to charges in the case, was sentenced to pay a criminal fine, required to spend a year on probation and make a public apology. The company's manager, Catalino Uy, was fined and will spend two years on probation. The fines total $135,000.

Spain was charged in 2006 with the illegal discharges, lying to federal investigators and conspiracy. Spain admitted that he showed employees how to discharge the untreated wastewater to the local sewers, and that he also directed employees to use a hose to try to dilute the waste being discharged. During the trial he acknowledged that the illegal discharges extended for 16 years, from 1985 until 2001. Spain also admitted he had lied to federal investigators and admitted that he telephoned several employees before they arrived for work and told them to falsely tell investigators that they treated the wastewater before they discharged it.

Crown Chemical Inc., manufactures industrial and commercial home cleaning products. According to the indictment in the case, wastewater resulting from cleaning out tanks at the facility routinely was drained to the city sewer system, despite the fact that the discharges violated standards for their acid content and at times for their caustic content. The sewer system in Crestwood is a regional system that connects to a treatment plant owned by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago.

Guess what Chicago, you just drank toxic waste... again.

EPA says Des Plaines River Oil Spill is Cleaned Up

EPA said today that most cleanup activities associated with the Feb. 8 oil release from Caterpillar's Joliet facility are now complete. The work was performed with support from Illinois EPA and the U.S. Coast Guard.

The poisoning of the river occurred when Caterpillar Corps waste oil/water separation system failed. Two waste oil collection pits containing about 65,000 gallons of oil overflowed, spilling onto a parking area and an embankment leading down to the Des Plaines River.
Up to 6,000 gallons of the oil flowed into the river. About 90 percent of the spilled oil collected in a gravel parking area and on the embankment. Light river surface "sheening" was spotted several miles downstream from the Caterpillar facility.

The Coast Guard and Caterpillar contractors captured most of the off-shore spill with an absorbent pad system.

Later in the week, the parking area and shoreline impacted by the spill were monitored for additional releases. Runoff from recent rains was monitored to prevent recontamination of the cleaned areas. Next, Caterpillar will submit for EPA review a follow-up water and land sampling plan. Laboratory analysis of this work should be complete by April or May 2009. About 200 cubic yards of oil-stained parking lot gravel and other debris is now staged in rolloff boxes awaiting treatment and/or landfill disposal.