Illinois EPA closes Taylorville Kroger store

The Kroger store in Taylorville was closed Friday by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency after concerns about asbestos contamination at the site.

The agency issued an order to shut down the site, according to a statement.

All occupants, including employees, have been removed from the building at 201 E. Bidwell St., the statement said. The IEPA also sealed the dumpsters and transfer containers associated with the grocery store.

On Friday, IEPA received a complaint expressing concerns about ongoing renovation and demolition activities at the store. An inspection was conducted Friday by IEPA and it was observed that SSI, a licensed asbestos contractor, was carrying out asbestos removal operations on the property.

“If a building is to be demolished, renovated or remodeled, care must be taken to prevent the release of asbestos fibers into the air,” said Kim Biggs, public information officer at IEPA. “Inhaling microscopic asbestos fibers from friable ACM can lead to health risks. Once inhaled, asbestos fibers can lodge in tissues for a long time and cause cancer. Asbestos can also cause asbestos-related diseases or problems such as asbestosis, mesothelioma, and pleural plaques (scar tissue in the chest cavity).”

According to the IEPA, the asbestos-containing materials at the site had become friable, which can lead to the uncontrolled release of asbestos fibers into the environment. IEPA inspectors observed that SSI had built containment, but material escaped the containment and was observed in publicly accessible areas of the building.

Taylorville still has three grocery stores: Walmart, Aldi and Taylorville Food Center.

“Taylorville will adapt. The other three stores will have everything they want and hopefully won’t affect our citizens at all,” Taylorville Mayor Bruce Barry said.

The IEPA has referred a lawsuit against The Kroger Co. (Kroger) and SSI Services, LLC (SSI) to the Illinois Attorney General’s Office, citing violations of the Illinois Environmental Protection Act. Illinois and Illinois Pollution Control Commission Regulations.

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