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Illinois EPA orders Taylorville Kroger store closed due to asbestos contamination

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has ordered a Kroger store in Taylorville closed and sealed to the public.

Agency Director John Kim issued a Seal Order for the store at 201 East Bidwell Street along with all dumpsters and transfer containers. Kim also referred an enforcement action against the grocery retailer and SSI Services LLC to the Illinois Attorney General's Office.

On July 29, the Illinois EPA said it received a complaint expressing concerns over renovation and/or demolition activities taking place at the store. According to the agency, inspectors determined that SSI, a licensed asbestos contractor, had been conducting asbestos removal on the property.

The agency also said the removal rendered asbestos-containing material friable, which can cause the uncontrolled discharge of asbestos fibers into the environment. Illinois EPA inspectors observed that SSI had constructed a containment, but material had escaped the containment and was observed within areas of the building accessible to the public.

The referral asks the Illinois Attorney General’s Office to represent the Illinois EPA and obtain a preliminary injunctive order against Kroger and SSI to cease further illegal discharge of asbestos into the environment. Illinois EPA is requesting Kroger and SSI take numerous additional actions, including securing the facility and all dumpsters and transfer containers; forbidding any unauthorized entry; and prohibiting entry of any person into the facility, except those approved by the Illinois EPA and licensed by the Illinois Department of Public Health to perform asbestos remediation activities.

The Seal Order will remain in effect until it is rescinded by the Illinois EPA.

A Kroger spokesman issued the following statement:

“The company will work with the EPA, our vendor and with remediation partners to correct the issue. We will reopen as soon as the EPA rescinds the order and we are able to do so as safety is one of our core values. We’re offering our associates the opportunity to work at our stores in Decatur until the issue is resolved.”

“We apologize for any inconvenience to our customers and community and will work to resolve this matter and reopen as quickly as possible.”

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