Information will provide a measure of safety for nearby residents and first responders
Cook County will now collect information on and inspect facilities housing hazardous liquid waste as a public safety measure.
An ordinance approved by the Cook County Board of Commissioners today will require businesses that store hazardous chemicals such as acids, solvents and other highly toxic chemicals to report the type of substance in the facility, the location of the chemicals and how the chemicals are stored.
The Cook County Department of Environmental Control will also inspect these facilities and maintain detailed information, such as photographs and maps of storage areas. Businesses defined under the ordinance will be charged an annual fee that helps fund inspections.
The information collected will be kept by the Cook County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and will be available to first responders.
The goal is to protect the residents of the County and first responders in the event of an emergency, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said.
“We’re taking an important step in preserving the health and safety of our first responders, as well as of our residents who live near businesses and other facilities that store hazardous chemicals,” Preckwinkle said. “The ordinance passed today by the Cook County Board will give us better information and improve our ability to quickly transmit that information to local police, fire and other officials in the case an emergency.”
About 1,000 businesses in suburban Cook County will be subject to the ordinance, which goes into effect Jan. 1, 2016. The estimated annual fee for these businesses is approximately $100 -150. Examples of businesses that will be subject to the ordinance include large industrial facilities, large dry cleaning plants, auto body shops, commercial printers and metal platers, among others.
Businesses in Chicago, which has its own ordinance related to hazardous liquid waste, will not be subject to the ordinance.