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ExxonMobil to investigate cause of oily release

Refinery also agrees to pay $70,000

Published: Friday, Nov. 16, 2012 8:08 a.m. CST • Updated: Friday, Nov. 16, 2012 12:49 p.m. CST

CHICAGO — ExxonMobil Oil Corp. must investigate the cause of a burst of oil mist at the company’s refinery in Channahon Township on Oct. 19, and take specific actions to ensure it does not occur again.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow on Thursday filed an agreed order including that those requirements.

More specifically, ExxonMobil must complete the investigation within 14 days to determine the root cause of the release and submit recommendations to Madigan’s and Glasgow’s offices for implementing corrective and preventive measures based on the investigation. A detailed corrective work schedule for necessary improvements must also be submitted.

Further, the refinery must report all chemicals and pollutants released during the incident and the quantities of each; provide the results of water samples and sediment samples taken from Jackson Creek; submit a report on ExxonMobil’s cleanup of off-site properties impacted by the incident; and identify all residents, landowners and local government agencies it communicated with following the release.

A detailed explanation of the procedures used to re-start the coker unit following the Oct. 19 release must also be provided.

The agreed order also requires ExxonMobil to pay up to $50,000 to Madigan’s office and the Illinois EPA for their costs associated with response and oversight costs associated with the incident and $20,000 to reimburse Will County for its emergency action related to the release.

In a four-count complaint filed on Oct. 31 in Will County Circuit Court, Madigan and Glasgow alleged the oil release occurred as a result of procedural failures at the refinery’s coker unit, sending the oil mixture into the air. The oil mixture fell onto homes and farms within a four-mile radius of the refinery, which is located at I-55 and Arsenal Road.

The incident prompted authorities to shut down Arsenal Road because of the slippery conditions created by the oil mixture settling on the roadway. Oil residue was also detected in nearby Jackson Creek and along the Union Pacific Railroad tracks.

The court has set a status hearing in this case for Feb. 19, 2013.

Supervising Attorney Rebecca Burlingham and Assistant Attorney General Robert Petti are handling the case for Madigan’s Environmental Enforcement Bureau.

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