Date: Friday, January 9, 1998
Source: By Rogers Worthington, Tribune Staff Writer.
Section: METRO CHICAGO
Copyright Chicago Tribune
GROUP CLAIMS O'HARE FAILS TO REPORT ON DE-ICING TOXINS
A national environmental group alleged Thursday that O'Hare International Airport is violating public right-to-know laws by failing to report amounts of a toxic chemical used to de-ice aircraft.
The Natural Resources Defense Council contends O'Hare has violated federal reporting requirements roughly 180 times since November 1996 in its use of ethylene glycol to de-ice airplanes and runways.
O'Hare officials insist they are in compliance with reporting requirements and that most of the ethylene glycol used at the airport is captured and treated. And Illinois Environmental Protection Agency officials say a quick review Thursday of discharge permit reports filed by O'Hare over the last year indicates the airport is in compliance.
Federal EPA officials in Chicago said Thursday they would investigate the allegations. Each violation, if proven, carries a federal penalty of up to $25,000.
The council has filed legal papers, required by federal law, indicating it intends to sue over the matter.
According to the statement, O'Hare failed to detail time, place and quantities of the chemical used in its reports to state environmental officials, and also failed to report to the National Response Council days when more than 5,000 pounds of the chemical were released. The National Response Council is the agency concerned with hazardous waste releases.
O'Hare reported to the IEPA last year 7,492,359 pounds of the chemical were used in January 1997. That averages out to 241,689 pounds a day. The Natural Resources Defense Council estimates 84,591 pounds a day were released into the environment.