About Advertise Archive Contact Search Subscribe
Serving the Loop and Near North neighborhoods of downtown Chicago
Facebook X Vimeo RSS

(Above) Google Street View of the 110 North Wacker construction site in June 2018, when workers allegedly dumped polluted water into the Chicago River. (Click on images to view larger versions.)

14-Jul-19 – Four companies will collectively pay the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency $75,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by the state that accuses them of polluting the Chicago River.

Case Foundation Company, Clark Construction Group, Riverside Investment and Development Company, and 110 North Wacker Titleholder LLC were sued on November 7, 2018, by the Illinois Attorney General’s Office, accusing them of dumping into the river more than 6,000 gallons of contaminated ground water while building 110 North Wacker.

On June 14, 2018, a photo shared on social media showed construction workers at 110 North Wacker dumping chalk-colored liquid into the river. The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago investigated and said it would be “taking appropriate actions” after finding that a contractor digging a caisson on the site did not have a permit to discharge into the river, nor had it even applied for a permit.

Goettsch Partners

“The Chicago River is not a dumping ground for companies to get rid of contaminated water,” said Lisa Madigan, the Illinois Attorney General at the time. “My lawsuit seeks to hold the defendants accountable and protect the water quality of the Chicago River.”

The lawsuit was filed at the request of the Illinois EPA, which accused the companies – the foundation specialist, construction company, developer, and owner of 110 North Wacker – of violating five provisions of the Environmental Protection Act, including water pollution.

(Left) Rendering of 110 North Wacker, being built along the south branch of the Chicago River between Randolph Street and Washington Street.

The consent order was approved by Associate Judge Franklin Valderrama on June 21. It makes clear that the defendants are not admitting to the violations but are agreeing to the order “for the purpose of settling and compromising disputed claims without having to incur the expense of contested litigation.”

The civil penalty of $75,000 was to be paid when the consent order was entered. It will go into the Illinois EPA’s Environmental Protection Trust Fund. The order permits the Illinois EPA to inspect the construction site periodically to make sure contractors are complying with the agreement.