A Rockton native leveraged a Severson Dells blog and her scientific training in the days after the June 14 fire and explosions at Chemtool to help residents make sense of the dizzying air and water quality testing data being released.
State and local officials have found elevated levels of metals in groundwater monitoring wells following the June 14 explosion and fire at Chemtool.
The metals discovered include antimony, cadmium, chromium and nickel. Some metals are essential nutrients, while others can cause health problems.
Illinois Environmental Protection Agency officials and members of the Illinois National Guard took samples of ash, runoff, well water and river water from around the site of the fire as well as in the immediate area.
Preliminary investigation results show the accidental fire started when a contractor inside of Chemtool operating a "scissor lift" likely struck a pipe carrying mineral oil. The pipe began showering equipment and the floor of the plant with oil before it ignited.
The Illinois Department of National Resources has closed part of the Rock River near Rockton, Ill., about 130 miles northeast of the Quad-Cities, following a nearby chemical fire.
Homeowners forced to evacuate their property near the massive Rockton chemical fire that burned for days last week have filed a lawsuit seeking class-action status against the owners of the industrial lubricant plant.
Residents living within one mile of the Chemtool plant in Rockton were given the all clear to return to their homes four days after Monday's massive fire broke out.
"Right now, nobody is out of a job," said Bill Snyder, vice president of operations for Chemtool's parent company. "Obviously, the facility is lost. We're going to support our employees: full pay, full benefits."
About 70 employees were evacuated safely from the plant, and one firefighter suffered a minor injury.
A chemical fire forced people from their homes in north central Illinois today and it could be burning for days. Officials ordered evacuations…
An explosion at a chemical plant near the northern Illinois community of Rockton sparked a massive fire that sent flames and huge plumes of th…