Officials finally have reached a settlement with the railroad company responsible for a fish kill on the Rock River, one of the best smallmouth rivers in northern Illinois.
The Chicago, Central, and Pacific Railroad (CCPR) will pay $570,000 for alleged pollution violations during an ethanol spill nearly six years ago, as well as restoration of the fishery.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources will receive $270,000 to fund rehabilitation of two nature areas and another $$150,000 for general restoration in the affected area.
“This settlement ensures funding is in place to complete efforts to restore the natural areas damaged by the ethanol leak,” said Attorney General Lisa Madigan.
Additionally, CCPR will pay $150,000 to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) and Winnebago County to settle alleged violations of the state’s Environmental Protection Act.
“This derailment caused significant impacts to the air, land, and water, which required a thorough investigation, substantial research and extensive environmental remediation,” said IEPA Director Lisa Bonnett.
“The coordinated efforts of state agencies have completed the investigation and cleanup of the release. And this final consent order brings closure to one of Illinois’ largest environmental emergencies.”
Since the derailment, CCPR also has worked with IEPA to remediate the contaminated areas.
In June 2009, an explosion and fire following a train derailment killed one person, as well as caused the discharge of up to 75,000 gallons of an ethanol and gasoline mixture. It flowed onto the surrounding land and into a creek which flows into the Kishwaukee River, a tributary of Rock River.
Two days later, Sauk Valley residents noticed large numbers of smallmouth, sunfish, and other species washing up on shore along a 54-mile stretch from Grand Detour to Prophetstown. The fish died of suffocation, as the ethanol breakdown burned up dissolved oxygen.