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Attorney general sues after massive oil leak in Granite City

Attorney General Kwame Raoul has filed suit against Delaware-based GFL Environmental Services USA Inc. over what he says was a 200,000-gallon oil leak in Granite City earlier this month.

raoul kwameRaoul filed the lawsuit along with an agreed motion for preliminary injunction in Madison County Circuit Court Thursday against GFL after oil leaked out of an above-ground storage tank in Granite City. The lawsuit and agreed motion seek to require GFL to prevent additional used oil from contaminating soil and groundwater, and leaking into nearby sewer systems.

“This leak resulted in a significant amount of used oil being released, jeopardizing public health and the local environment,” Raoul said. “I am asking the court to ensure that the company continues to clean up the contamination and the surrounding environment.”

“We look forward to working closely with the Attorney General’s Office on a full investigation of this incident,” said Illinois EPA Acting Director John J. Kim. “This action will ensure that the full scope of the contamination is identified and remediated to protect the community and residents from any further impacts.”

On Feb. 4, 200,000 gallons of used oil were released from GFL’s facility in Granite City. The used oil reached an adjacent property, the Granite City Waste Water Treatment Plant, and the Granite City Sewer Canal, which flows to the Mississippi River, Raoul’s office said. Used oil is toxic because motor oil can pick up a variety of contaminants when used in engines and transmissions and creates a hazard to water resources.

In addition to the filings, the court entered an agreed injunction order, which requires GFL to further investigate the site to determine the full extent of the contamination, and to clean up the impacted area. GFL must also submit a report describing what caused the spill and how the company plans to prevent future spills. Under the order, GFL also agrees to reimburse the state for costs incurred in responding to the incident.

The case was referred to the Raoul’s office by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. Assistant Attorneys General Brian Navarrete and Christina Nannini are handling the case for Raoul’s Environmental Bureau.

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