Five Months After Massive Chemtool Plant Explosion Health Impact Remains Unknown

This week marks the fifth month since the devastating Chemtool plant explosion in Rockton, Illinois. The Chemtool plant explosion sparked a fire that destroyed the facility and burned for several days. The blaze could be seen for miles around. As a result of the toxic smoke, people living within a one-mile radius of the blast were forced to evacuate their homes and businesses for five days.

Nearly half a year after the Chemtool plant explosion, the site of the blast looks the same as it did in the direct aftermath of the blast. What is alarming is that even after this much time, public health officials and others have yet to provide useful information about the long-term health consequences to those affected by the fire and associated toxic black plume that rose from the site of the disaster. In addition, the health and environmental impact of toxic runoff from the Chemtool plant site has also not been clarified.

About the Chemtool Plant

The destroyed Chemtool plant is (or was) located at 1165 Prairie Hill Road in Rockton, Illinois. The plant manufactured certain petroleum products that included:

  • Grease
  • Lubricating oil
  • Other petroleum-based fluids

The nature of the products manufactured at the facility ensured that toxic substances were released into the air when the blast occurred and the fire ensured.

Creation of a Toxic Moat

At the time of the Chemtool plant explosion and fire, a moat was built around the site. In theory the trench was constructed to collect water contaminated by the fire, contaminated by chemicals used to fight the fire, and tainted by toxic substances at the facility and used in the manufacturing process.

As the moat filled up, the toxic water was pumped into 18,000 to 21,000 tanks normally used in the fracking process. These have been described as portable storage units about the size of a semi-truck trailer.

According to Rockton Village President John Peterson, there had been at least 50 frac tanks on site and they evidently are now all gone. Peterson indicated he has no idea where they have been taken. He did say that someone associated with Chemtool or its parent company, Lubrizol, advised him that the tanks containing toxic water were “taken out of state.”

Chemtool and Lubrizol are Frontline Monitors of the Cleanup Progress

When it comes to efforts to protect workers and the public from the toxic runoff from the destroyed facility, employees of Chemtool and Lubrizol are the frontline monitors. Not a governmental agency, but agents of the company that owns the site that is emitting the contaminants.

A spokesperson addressed these efforts:

We have retained some employees to support the needs tied to site cleanup or continued Chemtool business support. These employees work primarily out of a nearby commercial and technical facility.

Illinois Attorney General is “Watching”

The Office of the Illinois Attorney General indicates that staff from that agency are “watching” what is going on in the aftermath of the Chemtool plant explosion:

Chemtool is removing wastewater and solid waste, continuing to sample, and taking steps to remediate the site. The Attorney General’s office remains committed to protecting the health and wellness of residents, and we are working to reach a resolution that ensures Chemtool will address any remaining contamination and takes steps to prevent an event like this from happening again.

Protect Your Legal Rights with a Chemtool Plant Explosion Lawyer

If you are among those people, workers and members of the community, who are unsure of your important legal rights in the aftermath of the Chemtool plant explosion, the legal team at the Doan Office is available to you at (312) 967-0000. You can connect with our office any time of the day or night, 365 days a year, including all major holidays.

We can schedule an appointment with a Chemtool plant explosion lawyer at our offices, your home, or at any location convenient for you. Our offices are located at:

The Doan Law Firm

Chemtool Plant Explosion Lawyer Team

875 North Michigan Avenue

Suite 3100

Chicago, Illinois 60611

(312) 967-0000

There is no charge for an initial consultation and case evaluation with a Chemtool plant explosion lawyer. The Doan Law Firm never charges a fee unless we win your case for you.

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