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In a recent federal court filing, the City of Evanston argues that it is, “Unable to fully remediate methane accumulations or coal tar waste without the Utilities’ help,” and as a result “all the City can do is continuously monitor methane accumulations and drinking water.”

 The filing came in response to Nicor and Comed’s joint motion to dismiss the City’s federal court complaint. The City  says it “Adequately states a plausible claim” for environmental contamination creating “Patently unsafe conditions” in and around James Park. The contamination, says the City, came from the Skokie natural gas manufacturing plant that closed in the early 1960s.

 Concentrated natural gas found by the MWRD several years ago was initially tied to the James Park landfill by one expert, then to naturally occurring natural gas by the City’s first expert, then to leaking gas pipes by the expert hired by the City’s outside law firm, then finally to Lowe process oil (“MG Waste Oils”) released by the natural gas plant by the law firm expert’s second report.

 “MG Waste Oils and their constituent contaminants are present in concentrations that exceed safety limits established in government standards intended to protect health and the environment and, as such, present an endangerment, per se,” the City response argues.

The City also says MS Waste Oils and hazardous coal tar waste are found in and around the Dodge Avenue water line, some of which is “in direct contact with the City’s drinking water, contain contaminants far in excess of Illinois EPA safety regulations.”

While the City continues to argue its drinking water is safe, the federal filing argues further, “Contaminants have been identified in five additional public drinking water samples taken in July 2016, all in close proximity to the Dodge Avenue Water Line.”