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Report: Men tried to hide South Elgin chemical dump
By Harry Hitzeman | Daily Herald Staff

A boom is stretched across the mouth of a creek that feeds into the Fox River to soak up toxic chemicals that police say were dumped over the weekend.

 

Rick West | Staff Photographer

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Published: 5/18/2010 1:10 PM | Updated: 5/19/2010 4:20 PM

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Authorities are waiting for lab tests to determine if criminal charges will be levied against two men caught pouring chemicals into a storm sewer in a South Elgin industrial park over the weekend.

The chemicals eventually made their way down a creek near the Fox River, killing dozens of fish and triggering a response from local and state agencies to contain the mess.

"One of the things we want to do is find out exactly what was dumped in the river. That's being done as we speak," Illinois Conservation Police Capt. Neal Serdar said Tuesday.

The conservation police are the law enforcement arm of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

Serdar said water test results should be available by Wednesday and a Wheeling-based firm, SET Environmental, was scheduled to clean up the creek Tuesday.

IDNR spokeswoman Januari Smith said other factors to be considered are the intent and quantity of chemicals dispersed in the incident.

According from a South Elgin police report, two men were detained Saturday afternoon after an officer saw one of them in an industrial park pouring the contents of a blue plastic drum down a storm drain. The other man was observed walking in the area with four plastic drum lids, reports said.

The responding officer "noticed several semi trucks parked next to each other creating an artificial wall," police reports said.

The men also claimed to work for a South Elgin business. A phone message left at the business was not immediately returned.

The Daily Herald is not naming the two men because they have not been charged.

They both listed a Elburn street address as their home, but one of them was in the United States on a Chinese visa, police reports said.

South Elgin Fire Protection District Chief Joe Cluchey said on Monday that the company had hired SET Environmental to clean up the creek. Cluchey also said the barrels were labeled as containing sulphonic and sulfuric acid.

A man watching carp spawn along a stream on Saturday afternoon saw white foam bubbles floating down a creek near Tequila's restaurant, 1101 N. La Fox St., and called police.