EPA probes ExxonMobil refinery leak
By Cindy Wojdyla Cain email@example.com October 22, 2012 3:54PM
A truck spreads sand at the intersection of Baseline Road and Arsenal Road where there is a possible leak at the Exxon Mobil Refinery in Channahon, Illinois, Friday, October 19, 2012. | Joseph P. Meier~Sun Times Media
Updated: November 24, 2012 6:15AM
State and federal Environmental Protection Agency investigators are looking into the release of hydrocarbon material from the ExxonMobil refinery on Friday.
Harold Damron, director of the Will County Emergency Management Agency, said investigators from the EPA’s air and water divisions are working to determine the effects of the airborne release.
“Will it create an environmental problem, that I don’t know yet,” Damron said.
ExxonMobil issued a statement on Saturday that apologized for the release of an oily substance that fell on cars and homes up to 4 miles east of the plant along the Arsenal Road corridor. Arsenal Road, which was closed during Friday’s cleanup, reopened at 8 a.m. Saturday.
“We are very sorry for the inconvenience this incident has caused,” wrote ExxonMobil spokeswoman Tricia Simpson.
The hydrocarbon release from the refinery in Channahon Township caused no injuries, and the company “immediately deployed industrial hygienists to monitor the area and no health impacts have been identified,” Simpson said.
The hydrocarbon material — which was made up of heavy gas oil, light gas oil and Naphtha, a liquid mixture used in the production of gasoline — landed on some Elwood homes and shut down Arsenal Road.
In addition to the apology, the statement also listed all of the measures ExxonMobil had taken to resolve the spill and reassure area residents.
The company established a 24/7 toll-free number for inquiries about the incident. The number is 877-511-1012.
ExxonMobil also said it would clean homes or property affected by the release. A mobile car wash station will be available by appointment by calling 877-511-1012. In addition to the mobile unit, passenger cars can be washed at the Delta Sonic at Jefferson and Larkin in Joliet and semi-trucks can be washed at A&R Transport at 2223 Empress Road in Joliet.