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updated: 6/27/2012 12:11 PM

Sewage plant near Schaumburg leaks 1.8 million gallons of sludge

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  • Approximately 1.8 million gallons of sewage leaked from a broken pipe at the John E. Egan Water Reclamation plant just outside Schaumburg on June 5. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency continues to investigate whether the leak affected Salt Creek or a nearby quarry pond.

       Approximately 1.8 million gallons of sewage leaked from a broken pipe at the John E. Egan Water Reclamation plant just outside Schaumburg on June 5. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency continues to investigate whether the leak affected Salt Creek or a nearby quarry pond.
    JOE LEWNARD | Staff Photographer

  • Site of spill

    Graphic: Site of spill

 
 

Illinois Environmental Protection Agency officials are continuing to investigate the impact of a June 5 leak of 1.8 million gallons of partially treated sludge at the John E. Egan Water Reclamation Plant just outside Schaumburg on Meacham Road.


The leak was caused by the break of an apparently aging pipe that transferred the sludge from its initial treatment site, the Kirie Water Reclamation Plant at 701 W. Oakton St. in Des Plaines, to the Egan Plant at 550 S. Meacham Road, according to Bruce Yurdin, manager of the field offices of the IEPA's Bureau of Water.

The pipe break occurred either within or just on the property line of the Egan Plant, Yurdin said.

He said officials from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, which operates both facilities, properly notified the IEPA within 24 hours of the leak and followed up with a more detailed written report within five days as required.

Officials said there appears to be no threat to the drinking supply. Nevertheless, the impact of the leak is only beginning to be evaluated, Yurdin said.

"It could take weeks or months," he added.

The IEPA is investigating whether some of the discharge may have gotten into an old quarry pond nearby or even into Salt Creek. There was no fish kill in Salt Creek, but the quality of the water will continue to be evaluated, Yurdin said.

"It can be quite toxic to aquatic life, which is our concern," he added.

While the IEPA will continue to oversee the follow-up on the leak, the water reclamation district remains solely responsible for the cleanup.

Officials from the water reclamation district and the Egan Plant did not return phone calls seeking comment Tuesday.

Though the Egan Plant lies immediately south of Schaumburg and the Schaumburg Park District's Olympic Park, neither the village or the park district were ever notified about the leak, officials said.

Yurdin said the water reclamation district followed procedure by notifying the IEPA. The rules of notification don't change depending on the nature of surrounding properties, he added.

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