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Cleanup underway at contaminated Sun City Huntley lake

Contamination killed nearly 3,000 fish there

Published: Sunday, Aug. 10, 2014 11:35 p.m. CDT

HUNTLEY – A truck company based in Canada could be fined by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency for an accident that ultimately contaminated a lake in Sun City Huntley and killed nearly 3,000 fish.

The agency also ordered Trappers Transport in Manitoba, Canada, to cover the cost of a massive cleanup effort ongoing at Wildflower Lake, located in the middle of the Huntley retirement community, and a nearby creek that feeds from the Kishwaukee River.

Agency officials still don’t know whether a threat exists to residents who use the lake and creek, as they continue to investigate the extent of the contamination that killed thousands of fish.

The agency is awaiting test results from a lab in Singapore in southeast Asia, which apparently is the only one that can develop a standard used to analyze the water samples. Officials hope to hear the results within the week.

“It is not known if an environmental threat exists for residents who may use the lake or creek for recreational purposes,” IEPA spokeswoman Kim Biggs said.

“The investigation is continuing and information will be provided, as it becomes available.”

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

The IEPA continues to monitor the cleanup effort, led by an environmental consultant representing the truck company.

Since July 31, the consultant has been vacuuming contaminated water that went upstream of the lake after barricading Wildflower Lake with berms to prevent polluted water from spreading.

Biologists from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources were at the scene Aug. 1 hauling 15 barrels, each holding 200 hundred dead fish, a department spokesperson said Friday.

Despite the unknown effects to the lake, the village’s water supply is unaffected, village officials said.

Huntley’s five water wells run at least 1,250 feet into the ground and are protected from direct routes of contamination. Officials also test the water quality from the wells daily.

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