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State EPA seals Millstadt property over chemical safety concerns


From Illinois Business Journal news services

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Director Lisa Bonnett has issued an order to seal property identified as Advanced Asymmetrics, Inc., located at 109 South Kossuth in Millstadt from public access due to health and safety concerns from chemicals remaining in the abandoned laboratory.

The order restricts public access to the St. Clair County site and prohibits entry by anyone except authorized personnel in the performance of official duties. Those entering the site must also comply with applicable OSHA regulations.

Illinois EPA said it is also referring a case to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency against Advanced Asymmetrics, Inc. for its alleged failure to comply with applicable Resource Conservation and Recovery Act regulations. The Illinois EPA has asked that U.S. EPA become the lead agency to oversee the proper removal of the remaining chemicals and dismantling of the remaining portions of the laboratory.

Advanced Asymmetrics, Inc., and its President and Registered, Lawrence D. Rutledge, abandoned the facility, the state EPA said in a release. Utilities to the building were disconnected in 2012. The facility is bordered by residential homes and a senior living facility.

The Illinois EPA inspected the site on Aug. 14 and discovered that the facility had several unlocked doors and broken windows with missing glass. Inspectors could detect an odor from the outside of the building and took precaution by wearing Level B protection with self-containing breathing apparatus prior to entering the premises.

Upon entering the building, inspectors found analytical equipment, labeled and unlabeled chemical bottles, and broken bottles on the floor. Several containers labeled hazardous waste were also found on the property. Thousands of containers ranging from a few milliliters to 55-gallon drums were discovered during the inspection.

The abandoned laboratory poses an increased danger to the public due to the quantity of known and unknown chemicals that were found to be unsecured on the property. The Illinois EPA said believes that the site poses an immediate health threat to anyone entering the site.

The order will remain in effect until rescinded by Director Bonnett.

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