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Illinois EPA Seals Kroger Store Due to Asbestos Contamination
Illinois Ag Connection - 08/02/2022

Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Director John J. Kim announced Monday that he has issued a Seal Order for the Kroger grocery store located at 201 East Bidwell Street in Taylorville (Christian County) along with all dumpsters and transfer containers associated with the store. All occupants were removed from the building and the building was ordered sealed to the public today. Illinois EPA also referred an enforcement action against The Kroger Co. (Kroger) and SSI Services, LLC (SSI) to the Illinois Attorney General's Office citing violations of the Illinois Environmental Protection Act and Illinois Pollution Control Board Regulations.

On July 29, 2022, Illinois EPA received a complaint expressing concerns about renovation and/or demolition activities taking place in the Kroger grocery store. The Illinois EPA conducted an inspection of the property on July 29 and observed that SSI, a licensed asbestos contractor, has been conducting asbestos removal operations at the property. Removal operations have rendered asbestos-containing material (ACM) friable, which can cause the uncontrolled discharge of asbestos fibers into the environment. Illinois EPA inspectors observed that SSI had constructed a containment, but material had escaped the containment and was observed within areas of the building accessible to the public.

Illinois EPA requested that the renovation and/or demolition activities cease, and that the building be closed to the public. Based on observations made during the inspection, Illinois EPA has sealed the building and all dumpsters and transfer containers associated with the grocery store until all investigation and remediation determined necessary by the Illinois EPA has taken place.

The referral asks the Illinois Attorney General's Office to represent the Illinois EPA and obtain a preliminary injunctive order against Kroger and SSI to cease further illegal discharge of asbestos into the environment. Illinois EPA requests Kroger and SSI take numerous additional actions, including securing the facility and all dumpsters and transfer containers; forbidding any unauthorized entry; and prohibiting entry of any person into the facility, except those approved by the Illinois EPA and licensed by the Illinois Department of Public Health to perform asbestos remediation activities.

The Seal Order will remain in effect until it is rescinded by the Illinois EPA. Only persons authorized, in writing, by the Illinois EPA may access the sealed portion of the property to conduct removal, disposal, or associated activities consistent with the Illinois Environmental Protection Act, Illinois Pollution Control Board regulations adopted thereunder, and any other applicable federal, State, or local law.

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