Costly cloud…

Failure to control dust leads to settlement.

More than seven months after an implosion covered Little Village in a cloud of dust, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul has settled a lawsuit against Hilco Redevelopment Partners and its contractors.

Raoul announced the settlement Thursday, which will require Hilco to pay $370,000 into a fund to support the community’s “long term health and wellness.” The money will go toward ACCESS’ Little Village Community Health and Wellness Program, which works to address asthma, diabetes and hypertension. The settlement will also require the developer and its contractors to comply with dust mitigation plans for the remainder of the demolition project.

The city-approved implosion sent a cloud of dust into the air and covered the streets of Little Village, causing neighbours to worry about the contents of the dust.

“The companies responsible for the demolition of the Crawford Power Generating Station’s smokestack failed to take steps to protect the community from air pollution and compromised air quality at a time when we are urging residents to remain in their communities to minimise the spread of a deadly respiratory disease,” Raoul said in a press release at the time.

In a statement, Raoul said the settlement held Hilco and its contractors “accountable for their failure to adequately protect residents from air pollution during demolition at the site. It also represents a step toward environmental justice for residents of the Little Village community,” Raoul said.

In the lawsuit filed in May, Raoul alleged Hilco and its contractors, MCM Management Corp and Controlled Demolition, violated the state’s air pollution regulations when it demolished a 115 metre smokestack at the nearly century-old Crawford site April 11.