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Illinois EPA refers Bluff City Materials to Attorney General for enforcement

Press Release - Tuesday, February 15, 2011

SPRINGFIELD—Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Director Doug Scott has asked the Illinois Attorney General's office to proceed with an enforcement action against Bluff City Materials, Inc. (BCM), Bartlett, for a discharge from a salt storage pile into waters of the State, including into the Bluff Spring Fen Nature Preserve. 
The BCM facility is located at 1950 Vulcan Boulevard, Bartlett; headquarters are located at 2252 Southwind Boulevard, Bartlett. 
 
Illinois EPA inspections show that BCM began receiving salt via railcar in August 2010.  BCM has stockpiled as much as 50,000 tons of salt at one time.  While BCM began transferring salt out of the Bartlett site in September, BCM continues to receive shipments of salt. 
 
In response to concerns communicated by the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission about BCM's salt storage practices, the Illinois EPA has conducted several inspections.  The initial inspection was conducted on December 21, 2010.  Although snow cover prevented a thorough inspection, it revealed that the salt storage pile was only partially covered.  A subsequent inspection on December 23, 2010, found the entire east side of the salt pile uncovered.  In addition, Illinois EPA found that the salt was being loaded from the northern portion of the pile, which is closest to Bluff Spring Fen Nature Preserve.
 
Research conducted by Illinois EPA hydrogeology experts found previous sand and gravel mining in the area of the BCM site.  In addition, well logs provided by BCM show significant amounts of sand in the area of the BCM site.  Sand allows the groundwater, with any pollutants, to move more quickly. 
 
BCM is located in a Class III Groundwater Recharge Area, which is demonstrated to be unique or discharges into a dedicated nature preserve.  Spring Bluff Fen is a dedicated nature preserve.   While the salt is now being stored properly, the residual from the previously improperly stored salt still poses a threat to groundwater. 
 
The Illinois EPA requests that the Attorney General require BCM to collect as much of the rock base above the milled asphalt subgrade as possible to prevent precipitation from contacting the rock/salt mixture and carrying contaminants off the BCM site; to collect samples from the monitoring wells up gradient and down gradient of the BCM salt storage area to be analyzed for chloride to determine what, if any, impact to groundwater resources currently exists; and to use a geomembrane on the storage area, under the salt piles and a layer of ground limestone, but above the milled asphalt subgrade, in order to prevent infiltration of any water that comes in contact with the salt piles.
 
The Illinois EPA will continue to provide technical and other support, as needed, to the Attorney General.

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