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Montgomery near end for groundwater cleanup

Groundwater contaminatisite former Allsteel plant now warehouse for Suncast Corp. Montgomery may be cleaned up matter months according an update

Groundwater contamination at the site of the former Allsteel plant, now a warehouse for Suncast Corp., in Montgomery may be cleaned up in a matter of months according to an update given to trustees in the Village of Montgomery Tuesday night. Photo taken Wednesday, February 20, 2013. | Steven Buyansky~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: March 22, 2013 10:27AM

MONTGOMERY — Groundwater contamination at the site of the former Allsteel plant may be cleaned up in a matter of months, according to an update given to trustees Tuesday night.

The area is around 900 Knell Road, used by the former steel office furniture manufacturer and currently used as a warehouse for Suncast Corporation.

Officials said Allsteel used cleaning solvents in its manufacturing process. Over time, those solvents seeped into ground water and caused levels of contamination to exceed recommended guidelines.

Roux Associates, the environmental consulting firm, is asking the village to create a groundwater ordinance that would allow the area to obtain a “No Further Remediation” classification.

The designation could be obtained once testing comes in at levels that no longer pose a threat to people who drink from untreated water in the area. Mike Pubentz, the village’s director of public works, said drinking water is safe as those solvents are removed during the water treatment process.

Currently, the water is tested twice a year by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to document the levels. Village Wells 4 and 12 are near the designated zone but have never tested positive for those contaminants, officials said.

Jim Baldwin, project manager with the IEPA, said the problem has been addressed since 1986 and cleanup activities have been ongoing since that time. He said coliform has been found in the water but the levels are going down.

“We want the ordinance to make sure no one puts a well in within the boundaries,” Baldwin said.

Under the requested ordinance, the state will continue to monitor and test various water samples in the area.

“We are at the point of projecting an end point and completion would include a component of ground water remediation,” said Tim Adams with Roux Associates. “There are many benefits to help ensure the village will provide safe drinking water and it would prevent anyone within the property boundaries to have a well without the knowledge of the village.”

Baldwin said coliform has been found at unacceptable levels for the past several years, but the levels are getting better.

“The contaminants are meeting the acceptable standards very well. They have been working well in their remediation efforts and the agency and corporation are working very well together,” Baldwin said.

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