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updated: 5/2/2017 10:17 AM

Round Lake residents take pollution complaints to Baxter stockholders

Residents planning to take complaints to Baxter stockholders today

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  • Paige Fitton says a group called Stop Pollution in Long Lake plans to protest at Baxter Healthcare's annual stockholders meeting.

      Paige Fitton says a group called Stop Pollution in Long Lake plans to protest at Baxter Healthcare's annual stockholders meeting.
    Paul Valade | Staff Photographer, JANUARY 2017

 
 

Property owners around Long Lake in Round Lake took their long-standing dispute against Baxter Healthcare to its stockholders today.

Stop Pollution in Long Lake, or SPILL, picketed at Baxter's corporate campus where stockholders are holding their annual meeting in Deerfield.

The property owners have been at odds with Baxter over its facility at Route 120 and Wilson Road in Round Lake, claiming it pollutes the lake and has unknown effects of wildlife, said SPILL spokeswoman Paige Fitton, who owns property on the east shore of the lake.

"We want to see a signed sewer connection agreement," Fitton said.

Baxter Healthcare, part of Deerfield-based Baxter International, has research-and-development teams for hospital products and manufacturing operations in Round Lake. A spokesman said the company has been working with local authorities on making that sewer connection.

"We are actively working with local and regional agencies in Round Lake, Fox Lake, Lake County Public Works and Lakes Region Sanitary District to secure the necessary approvals for Baxter to begin construction of the connection to the public wastewater system," said Baxter spokesman William Rader. "In fact, we have meetings scheduled in the next few weeks that should substantially advance this process. We appreciate the opportunity to work with the agencies to secure the required permits as soon as possible."

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency issued a violation notice to Baxter in August. Since then, the IEPA has been working with the company on an agreement to resolve the violations.

The violations involved the company exceeding its discharge permit for biochemical oxygen demand, or the amount of dissolved oxygen that must be in the water so microorganisms can decompose the organic matter, and for total suspended solids, or particles trapped by a filter and used as a guide on the wastewater's quality after treatment in a wastewater treatment plant.

In January, Baxter could not provide a timeline when either the agreement with the IEPA or the connection to the sewer system would happen. A spokesman at the time said the company invested about $1 million in treatment plant improvements and it remained committed to resolving the issues.

A spokeswoman for the IEPA did not immediately respond for further comment.

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