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Buyer Beware

The Illinois state Environmental Protection Agency is looking into a manufacturing plant that was turned into office space without adequately ensuring it was clean and safe enough for people to work in. Sure enough, despite a multimillion-dollar renovation, the people who work there now complain of headaches, breathing problems, and other illnesses, and blame the building’s history as a manufacturing plant for electrical equipment. The federal EPA fined the previous owner for improperly disposing of the carcinogen PCB. Asbestos and mold have been found inside, and a leaky benzene tank was discovered buried on the property. Purchase paperwork is so unclear that it’s not really known if the seller or the buyer “really” owns it. The buyer: the State of Illinois, and the building is the Illinois EPA’s headquarters. One employee who works in the building said that if it was a private sector building, it “would never pass” the agency’s review process. (RC/Springfield State Journal-Register) ...But you can be sure the purchase paperwork very clearly says the state is responsible for cleaning it up.
Publication Date: 23 November 2008
This story is in True’s book collection, Volume 15.

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