Bryan Cohen Jul. 26, 2013, 7:16pm

CHICAGO (Legal Newsline) - Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow announced a lawsuit Thursday against ExxonMobil Oil Corp. after an equipment malfunction at a company refinery allegedly released pollutants.

In March, a pressure relief valve failed at the company's Channahon Township-based refinery's coker debutanizer allegedly resulting in the release of approximately 4,066 pounds of hydrogen sulfide and other contaminants into the air. The allegedly uncontrolled release started shortly after 9 p.m. on March 1 and was undiscovered by refinery employees until approximately 6:45 a.m. the next morning, lasting more than 9 1/2 hours.

High concentrations of hydrogen sulfide, which is known for its distinctive rotten egg odor, can result in shock, the loss of consciousness, convulsions and death.

"We need to know why this incident occurred and ensure that measures are taken to avoid future releases of highly toxic chemicals that are hazardous to the employees on site as well as the whole community," Madigan said.

The lawsuit requests that the court order ExxonMobil to cease and desist from further violations of the environmental protections, take immediate preventive and corrective actions and assess a civil penalty of $50,000 with an added penalty of $10,000 per day of the alleged violation.

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