NDK Crystal to remain closed to probe blast

Bryan Cohen Feb. 20, 2012, 1:38pm


CHICAGO (Legal Newsline) - Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Boone County State's Attorney Michelle Courier announced a settlement on Friday with NDK Crystal requiring the company to remain closed until certified as safe for operation.

On Dec. 7, 2009, the company experienced an explosion at its facility near Belvidere. Federal safety authorities continue to look into what caused the blast in one of the plant's eight autoclaves, which are used to manufacture crystals of quartz.

The explosion caused quartz particles and other debris to blow across Interstate 90 and kill a motorist who was hit with the flying debris at a tollway oasis nearby. Water and soil samples taken after the explosion and given to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency did not show contamination that was above applicable standards.

"This plan puts public safety at the forefront, with rigorous protections in place to ensure this facility is in proper working order before it goes back online," Madigan said.

Under the terms of the settlement, NDK cannot resume operations until it is inspected and certified by the Illinois Office of State Fire Marshal. The office must certify all machinery used at the site for the manufacturing of synthetic crystals. NDK must pay a $39,000 civil penalty, which will be deposited in the Environmental Protection Trust Fund and must pay $5,000 in reimbursement to both the IEPA's Hazardous Waste Fund and Boone County. In addition, NDK must submit a copy of the final report by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board to Madigan's office within 30 days of its receipt.

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