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Environmental Enforcement Roundup: Causes of Euclid Chemical Fire Under Investigation, Whatley Farmer to Restore Wetlands

Causes of Euclid Chemicals Co. Fire Under Investigation

A fire destroyed the Euclid Chemical Company manufacturing plaint in central Illinois on Saturday, but no injuries were reported and the cause remains unknown, Paint and Coatings Industry News reports.

The plant was closed at the time, and none of its 15 employees were there when the fire broke out early Saturday morning at the manufacturing site at Sheffield, Ill. The plant was completely destroyed. Several firefighters battling the fire on Saturday were treated for smoke inhalation.

Some witnesses reported hearing explosions early Saturday, and smoke billowed from the plant for hours. Authorities closed area roads, and residents in a wide area near the plant were told to stay inside.

The company said it was working with authorities to determine the cause of the fire. In a statement issued Sunday, the company said it “has established an on-site, senior management team to assess the situation, work with local safety/law enforcement and Illinois EPA to coordinate communications to nearby residents and communities, and investigate the cause of the fire that destroyed its manufacturing plant in Sheffield, Ill.”

“We take seriously our responsibilities as a corporate citizen and a good local neighbor,” Moorman L. Scott Jr., Euclid Chemical president to Paint and Coating Industry News.  “We are working closely and cooperating with local, state and federal officials and the community to take appropriate and effective remedial actions.”

In a prepared statement Monday afternoon, Sheffield, fire chief Andy Lanxon said his department continues to monitor the scene along with U.S. and Illinois EPA officials, representatives from Euclid Chemical Company, individual contractors, Bureau County public health, Bureau County Sheriff’s Department and Illinois State Fire Marshal’s Office, La Salle News Tribune reports.

“Cleanup efforts by a private cleanup company will begin as soon as it is deemed safe to do so. Environmental conditions will continue to be monitored,” Lanxon said.

Joshua Robbins, a public-relations representative with Serafin & Associates in Chicago and a spokesman for Euclid Chemical, said Monday that the site “remains in emergency response mode, and is under the control of the fire-protection district.” He said an investigation of possible causes has begun, but added that the probe is unlikely to pinpoint the source until investigators gain access to the site.

Robbins said he had no immediate information on the types of materials that are manufactured at the plant. The company said it began operations at the site in 2006.

Euclid Chemical, based in Cleveland, manufactures a range of specialty construction products, including concrete and masonry admixtures; curing and sealing compounds; structural grouts; epoxy adhesives; floor hardeners and toppings; joint fillers; industrial and architectural coatings; decorative color, stains, and stamps; and a line of restoration materials.

The company, a unit of RPM International Inc., offers products under the Euco, Eucon, Tamms, Dural®, Baracade®, Hey’Di, Increte, and Speed Crete® brands.

EPA Orders Farmer to Restore Wetlands

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered a Whatley, Mass. farmer to restore approximately 17 acres of damaged wetlands added to his farm fields over the past three decades.

According to the EPA, James Pasiecnik, owner of J.M. Pasiecnik Farms ”grubbed, graded, filled, and altered” 17.3 acres of wetlands next to farm fields at several locations.

The damage took place between 1984 and 2007, according to the EPA.

The work was done by Pasiecnik and workers under his direction, according to the EPA.

The EPA claims that Pasiecnik failed to obtain the required federal permits under the Clean Water Act authorizing the discharges of dredged and fill material into the wetlands.

The wetlands on Mr. Pasiecnik’s Farm are located in the terraces of the Connecticut River, and are adjacent to streams flowing to the Connecticut River. The terraces, streams and wetlands formed over thousands of years as the course of the Connecticut River changed.

Wetlands provide an abundance of food that provides a habitat for many animal species.

EPA to Hold National Brownfield Conference in Philadelphia

Registration is now open on-line for the 14th National Brownfields Conference, scheduled for April 3-5, 2011 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia.

Co-sponsored by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the International City/County Management Association, the conference is the largest, most comprehensive conference in the nation focused on cleaning up and redeveloping abandoned, underutilized, and potentially contaminated properties.

Co-sponsored by EPA and the International City/County Management Association, the conference attracts more than 5,000 registrants and hundreds of exhibitors. With more than 100 educational sessions, the conference offers knowledge building, networking, and business development opportunities for beginners and experienced professionals.

The conference addresses issues facing brownfields practitioners, policy makers, and communities. This year, conference organizers are particularly interested in ideas related to green jobs, community engagement and environmental justice, the business of brownfields, green technology and emerging solutions, planning for community revitalization, and sustainability.

To register, visit the conference website at www.brownfields2011.org . There is no cost to register and those who register early gain access to more than 100 educational sessions, films and exhibits, walking tours and hands-on experiences.

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