DuPage County judge approves proposal to allow Sterigenics plant to reopen
WILLOWBROOK, Ill. (September 6, 2019) – A DuPage County judge ruled Friday that the Sterigenics plant in Willowbrook can reopen after it was shut down by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency in February.
Friday’s hearing was held nearly two months after Sterigenics reached an agreement with Attorney General Kwame Raoul and DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin stating that the plant could reopen following the installation of new emissions control equipment.
During Friday’s hearing, lawyers for Sterigenics reported the plant had made upgrades to the Willowbrook facility to reduce ethylene oxide emissions by over 90 percent. Sterigenics argued they were “entitled to reopen as soon as possible” and said if the judge didn’t approve the consent order, they would take legal action and file an emergency order to reopen.
The DuPage County State’s Attorney’s Office told the judge they thought “it was the best thing to approve the consent order because the order is the only thing to make sure that Sterigenics operates under the new strict emissions regulations,” ABC 7 Chicago reports.
The plant will not reopen immediately. Sterigenics has yet to make several changes and apply for permits to abide by new, stringent standards set by the State of Illinois for sterilization using ethylene oxide.
Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard Partner Patrick A. Salvi II released a statement in response to the judge’s decision:
It is difficult to fathom how the people that live, work, and send their kids to school around Sterigenics feel right now. They have a bad neighbor who has poisoned the community for decades, and now they will be allowed to do so again. Preventing those in the area from being exposed to this DNA mutating, cancer-causing chemical was not enough for Sterigenics to limit its toxic emissions. Only once their bottom line was threatened did they seek negotiations to re-open their business. As a result of Sterigenics’ egregious conduct going back 35 years, and for any additional harm caused going forward, our clients and our firm will fight to hold Sterigenics accountable.