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Sun City Huntley lake reopens after chemical spill

Published: Friday, Aug. 15, 2014 3:37 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Aug. 15, 2014 4:01 p.m. CDT

HUNTLEY – A lake at Sun City Huntley reopened Friday after preliminary results from a lab in Singapore revealed that the chemicals that spilled and contaminated the lake wouldn't harm residents.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency last week sent two rounds of samples from the retirement community's Wildflower Lake to southeast Asia for testing. The clean-up effort ongoing at the lake since July 31 is now winding down, said IEPA spokesperson Kim Biggs.

"The Illinois EPA and Illinois Department of Public Health have determined that the water from the lake would not cause adverse health effects for the residents," Biggs said. "We are still reviewing data to determine what, if any, effects might still be present for the aquatic life."

The environmental hazard happened after a truck from Trappers Transport, based in Manitoba, Canada, caught fire July 25 along Interstate 90 near Huntley. The water runoff from the firefighters’ hoses mixed with a chemical carried by the truck and likely entered a branch of the Kishwaukee River that leads to Wildflower Lake.

The chemical contamination killed nearly 3,000 fish inside the Sun City lake and a nearby creek that feeds from the Kishwaukee River. Residents typically use the lake to catch and release fish.

Upon hearing about the contamination, the state environmental agency ordered Trappers Transport to cover the clean-up costs and replace the dead fish. Environmental officials are still determining the tab for the work and also don't know when the fish will be replaced.

They are still considering whether to fine the truck company for the contamination.

Biggs said the agency can work with the company on a compliance agreement or refer the issue to the Illinois Attorney General's office, which would assess any financial penalty.

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