"We need to be able to take
quick action when we learn that a landfill operator is putting our
environment and the public at risk. This problem came to my personal
attention very recently when a landfill in Joliet that is owned by a
relative of my wife was found to be operating without any state
oversight. In the past, these kinds of cases have gotten tied up in
months- or even years-long legal battles while the illegal activity
continues. We won't sit back and let that happen anymore," the
Ltd. landfill, located at the northwest corner of Torrence Avenue
and Route 30 in Ford Heights, was first cited by the IEPA for
violating the state's waste disposal laws in October of 2002. The
operators did not have a state permit to accept general waste and
allowed debris to be piled above grade -- a violation of state law.
The landfill refused to comply with
IEPA demands, so the case was referred to the attorney general's
office in November 2003. Despite the ongoing legal action, Lincoln
Ltd. has been accepting waste illegally and piling the debris above
grade. In fact, the volume of waste at the site has grown
dramatically, from 432,000 cubic yards in October 2002 to roughly
4.8 million cubic yards in August 2004. The landfill has grown from
47 feet high to 73 feet high.
[to top of second column in
"Despite our best
efforts to bring Lincoln Ltd. into compliance, its operators have
continued to add to the growing environmental problem while their
case makes its way through the lengthy legal process. Sealing the
site may be the only way to stop a mounting threat to the Ford
Heights community," said Renee Cipriano, director of the IEPA.
Last Thursday the IEPA sealed the
Land Reclamation Services Inc. landfill in Joliet after inspectors
found the site was accepting and storing general debris without
necessary state permits and discharging into nearby Sugar Run Creek
without a state permit.
The governor learned about problems
at the landfill, which is operated by Frank Schmidt, a distant
cousin of first lady Patti Blagojevich, when his office received
complaints that Schmidt was using his ties to the Blagojevich family
to solicit business.
The governor ordered IEPA inspectors
to the site on Dec. 28; and they made subsequent visits on Dec. 29
and 30, and Jan. 3, 4 and 5. The IEPA shut down the site on Jan. 6
until the problems cited in the violation notices could be fixed.
[News release from the