State

IEPA: Seward air, water safe after explosion

SEWARD — State regulators say there aren't long-term environmental impacts from a June fire and explosion at a northern Illinois chemical plant.

Illinois Environmental Protection Agency investigators met with Seward residents Wednesday to discuss the blast at the Nova-Kem plant.

Agency spokeswoman Carol Fuller says the air and water are safe.

Officials tested soil, water and vegetation samples from properties near the explosion and say all the results are normal.

The June 2 blast caused a 24-hour evacuation of the town of about 300 people that's 18 miles west of Rockford.

Authorities still haven't said what caused the explosion and fire, but they believe it was likely sparked by a control system failure that released a chemical that ignited the blaze.

Nova-Kem can't operate until authorities figure out what caused the fire.

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