Nicor, Prosecutors Agree to Cleanup Order

Under the terms of an agreed court order announced Tuesday, Naperville, IL-based Nicor Inc. must identify all the homes to inspect for possible mercury contamination that occurred from mishandled gas regulators.

The order, set by Cook County Circuit Court Judge Paul Biebel, could cover as many as 200,000 suburban Chicago homes and several scrap yards and service centers where the used regulators had been taken for disposal. Nicor also has to hand over its list of potentially contaminated sites to state and federal officials.

Cook County, DuPage County and the Illinois Attorney General filed a lawsuit against Nicor last week after the company disclosed it had found mercury contamination in some homes where old regulators had been removed (see Daily GPI, Sept. 6).

The court ruling said that Nicor first has to identify potentially contaminated homes where young children, pregnant women or anyone at a high risk might live.

Nicor CEO Tom Fisher said the company was pleased with the agreement, and said the company will "continue our ongoing efforts to inspect and to, where needed, clean up all of the homes potentially affected." Fisher said Nicor had accelerated its program to identify, inspect and cleanup any possible contamination, and would provide "regular updates on our progress."

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