Chicago —(ENEWSPF)—December 21, 2017
By: Rosemary Piser
Yesterday, Attorney General Lisa Madigan, along with Lake County State’s Attorney Michael Nerheim, announced the filing of a lawsuit against Baxter Healthcare Corporation (Baxter) for releasing wastewater containing contaminants that exceeded allowable limits into a tributary of Long Lake.
The complaint against Baxter was filed in Lake County Circuit Court. Baxter operates its research and development facility at 25212 W. Illinois Route 120 in Round Lake, Ill. Madigan is asking the court to require Baxter to immediately stop discharging contaminants exceeding allowable limits into the tributary of Long Lake, and to pay a penalty for violating its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit.
Community groups have raised concerns about Baxter’s onsite wastewater treatment system. Baxter manufactures healthcare products, and the company’s NPDES permit allows for treated water to be discharged into the lake. According to discharge monitoring reports Baxter submitted to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA), the company violated its permit several times between January and May 2016 by discharging water that contained more than its allowable limit of total suspended solids and contaminants that deplete oxygen levels.
Inadequate oxygen levels in water can lead to rapid growth and decomposition of plants such as algae, which can have negative effects on the ecosystem of a body of water. Excessive levels of total suspended solids can also have negative effects on aquatic life.