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Disclaimer: The Winnebago County Health Department (WCHD) webpage related to the Rockton Chemtool Fire contains several links, referenced sites and data, which are for informational purposes only. Different resources related to the Rockton Chemtool Fire are contained herein and are available to visitors of this site. They are to be used at your discretion. WCHD is not responsible for the availability, content or any use of such links, attachments or referenced sites. The information provided on this webpage does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice.

On Wednesday, September 1, the Winnebago County Health Department (WCHD) provided an update on the Health Impact Survey completed following the Rockton Chemtool Fire to representatives from the Village of Rockton and from the local response. The public can view this presentation live on YouTube on the Winnebago County Health Department Youtube page here. The slides from the presentation can be downloaded here.

On Monday, June 14, 2021 there was a large fire at Chemtool Incorporated which lead to a Disaster Proclamation being declared for Winnebago County. Click Here to view the Emergency Declaration.


As of June 22, the US Fire Pump anticipates that all fires will be extinguiesed in the next couple of days, however, it's crew will remain on scene for several days after suppression is complete to address any issues that may arise. Starting on Monday morning, June 22, damage assessment teams are in the one-mile radius around Chemtool.

Evacuation

Click Here for Guidance on Returning Home After The Chemical Fire

The evacuation orders for residents within one mile of Chemtool have been lifted as of 10:45am on Friday, June 18, 2021. Residents should take precaustions upon returning home as their environment has been impacted by the fire. Guidance on returning to your home after a chemical fire is available here.

Click here if you need assistance with food and have been impacted by the Rockton Chemical Fire.

The Lubrizol Corporation, parent company to Chemtool, has an claim form for reimbursement for personal expenses tied to the evacuation, such as and hotel expenses. Click here for the claim form.

Debris

Due to the potential or contaminated or hazardous materials, please do not pick up any ash or debris from the fire. Residents can call 877-552-8942 to arrange to have the fire-related debris removed for them, rather that removing it themselves. This contactor, Clean Harbors, has been arranged by the Lubrizol Foundation, the parent company of Chemtool, to assist the residents who may have been impacted by the Chemtool fire in removing fire-related debris from residential homes and businesses in the area. You may also choose to contact any other clean-up company for proper removal of fire-related debris and materials.

Air Sampling

At this time, air quality measures remain stable. The USEPA began mobile air monitoring in areas around the fire on June 14. Ash and debris (particulate matter) visibly impacted homes and areas in proximity to the fire. As would be expected during a fire, the USEPA’s mobile monitoring found elevated particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10) at some of its stations for several sampling periods. Generally, as the fire was brought under control fewer elevated levels during mobile monitoring samples were seen. The Illinois EPA maintains a network of air monitors around the state to measure air quality compliance and no monitors exceeded the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for respirable particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5).

USEPA air monitoring data may be found at https://response.epa.gov/site/site_profile.aspx?site_id=15241
General air quality information based on Illinois EPA’s network data may be found at https://www.airnow.gov/

Learn More About The Air Monitoring Process:
Federal health-based National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) are established for different types of particulate matter. The standards are set for respirable particulate matter smaller than 10 microns (PM10) and smaller than 2.5 microns (PM2.5). There is a short term (24-hour) standard for PM10 and both short (24-hour) and long term (one-year) standards for PM2.5. Illinois EPA maintains a network of air monitors around the state to measure air quality for compliance with the NAAQS. The USEPA mobile air monitoring in areas around the fire was measured against a 1-hour Public Health Screening Level established by the Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry (ATSDR).

Water Sampling

Illinois EPA has taken a variety of water samples in the Rock River and runoff from the water used to fight the Chemtool fire in Rockton. This sampling is to provide data on whether chemicals from the fire or foam used to fight the fire have contaminated the site or have the potential to move off site and contaminate other areas. The Rock River is not a drinking source for municipalities in Winnebago County. The Illinois EPA, to be extra cautious, is collecting samples for the Rockton municipal drinking water well to verify that there has been no impacts.
The results of the water samples will be posted on the Illinois EPA’s webpage as they are received from the lab.

NEW Report (07/22): The Illinois EPA has taken water samples from monitoring wells on the Superfund site following the Chemtool Fire. Monitoring wells are not a source of water for residents and are used to test the ground water. The results of these test have come back to indicate the presence of elevated metals. The source(s) of the contamination is not yet known. CLICK HERE to go the the IEPA website to view the results. Click here learn more about this report.

Land Sampling

The Illinois EPA and National Guard have taken more than 95 wipe, ash, soil, and waste samples in more than 65 locations around the Chemtool fire, mainly in those areas to the south most directly under the plume of the fire. Dependent on the type of sample collected, samples were variously tested for metal compounds, volatile organic compounds, and/or semi-volatile compounds. The Illinois EPA is comparing the sample results to appropriate threshold levels. Test results are posted to the Illinois EPA website. For those samples taken on private property, Illinois Department of Public Health with be providing a health interpretation letter directly to the property owner.

Cause

Preliminary investigation into the fire has not yet begun as life safety and fire abatement remain the top priorities. No agencies are able to speculate on fire causes and / or the fire sprinkler status at this time. As of June 22, the US Chemical Safety Board is on scene to conduct an investigation. Once all investigations are complete, the agencies will compile information before any results of the investigations are released.

Hotline & Alerts

  • Phone: 815-972-7300
  • Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Sign up to receive official Chemtool Alerts from the Rockton Police at www.rocktonpolice.org and clicking "Click here for Chemtool Fire Information."