LITTLE VILLAGE — Developer Hilco has been fined $2,500 after a health inspector saw runoff water going into the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal from the Crawford coal plant demolition site in Little Village, officials said.
The Chicago Department of Public Health slapped Hilco Development Partners with the fine after “silty water” was seen leaving the old coal plant site, 3501 S. Pulaski Road, and entering the canal Wednesday, city officials said. The health department has collected samples to test for contamination.
The Chicago Department of Public Health is “reviewing the developer’s current procedures to ensure similar situations will not occur in the future,” the city said in a statement.
The newest citation is a latest trouble the developer has been cited for after a botched smokestack demolition covered Little Village in dust amid a respiratory pandemic. Saying the developer “utterly failed,” the city fined Hilco $68,000 in that case and Mayor Lori Lightfoot stopped work at the site.
Last week, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul sued Hilco and its contractors, MCM Management Corp and Controlled Demolition, alleging they violated the state’s air pollution rules when they demolished the 378-foot smokestack.
Hilco also faces two other lawsuits from Little Village residents following the bungled implosion, as well as a wrongful death suit after a worker plummeted to his death.
A Hilco spokesperson said they are working with the city to address the issue.
“We are working very proactively with the city and other officials and will continue to have an open and productive dialogue as we work towards advancing this project,” the spokesperson said in an email.
City officials say they are taking the issue seriously.
“The health and wellness of Chicago’s residents remains the City’s top priority, and we are committed to holding anyone that jeopardizes the general public health accountable,” the city said in a statement.
Hilco purchased the decommissioned coal plant in 2017 and is demolishing the site to make way for a one-million-square-foot logistics warehouse. The project has been met with vehement opposition from some neighbors and activists have called on Hilco to abandon the project and return a 19.7 tax subsidy granted by the city.
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