Cleanup of Illegal Dump Cost More than $1 Million: EPA

Site discovered by authorities in April following a large and stubborn fire

By Courtney O'Callaghan
|  Tuesday, Jan 4, 2011  |  Updated 6:45 PM CDT
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Illinois taxpayers dumped more than $1 million last year to clean up an illegal 12-acre trash site in far south suburban Markham.

The site, a portion of unincorporated Cook County near the intersection of the Tri-State Tollway and 159th Street, was full of tires, vehicles, boats, trailer homes, and general construction materials.  Abandoned, leaking drums of oil and pool of suspected hazardous chemicals were also found.

The site was discovered by authorities in April following a large and stubborn fire.

When clean up began in June, some lifelong residents in the area said they had no idea the site existed and were concerned about the posing multiple problems above and below ground, especially involving their drinking water.

So far, water monitoring has not revealed any harm to local supplies.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency said this weeek that $1.06 million was spent on cleanup of the site as disputes continue as to who is responsible for it.

The agency believes most of the site has been acquired by the city of Markham via tax sale, but there are parcels within the area whose owner or owners have not been identified.

Along with the IEPA, the Illinois Attorney General's Office continues to work the case, examining ownership records, jurisdiction and the host of potential violations.

Authorities continue to monitor the site to prevent further dumping.

"It’s still clean, and I go by and make sure it’s secure," IEPA Environmental Protection Specialist Charlene Thigpen told the Southtown Star.

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