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Officials Halt Pumping of 'Putrid' Water From Edgewater Medical Center

By Benjamin Woodard | November 18, 2014 5:21am
 Crews began pumping water out of the Edgewater Medical Center garage this week.
Crews began pumping water out of the Edgewater Medical Center garage this week.
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DNAinfo/Linze Rice

EDGEWATER — The pumping of stinky water from the basement of the Edgewater Medical Center garage was stopped after officials said they found the shuttered hospital's managers hadn't obtained the proper permit.

The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District halted the discharge when it learned the long-standing water was being dumped into the sewer system, said Allison Fore, the district's spokeswoman.

She said the permit was required by the district's Environmental Remediation Wastewater Ordinance, "which was put into place to protect treatment plant workers and the treatment process from chemicals in remediation wastewater that could be toxic or dangerous."

The ordinance also places limits on the concentration of chemicals or waste in wastewater being discharged.

She said the owner of the property, MCZ Development, was "in the process" of securing the correct discharge permit.

"Once they have it, they will be allowed to resume their pumping operations," she said.

MCZ Development didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

Resident Joe Drantz, a member of the West Edgewater Area Residents association, said he and his neighbors complained to the district and other officials last week after the smell of the "putrid" water had enveloped the neighborhood.

Last month, the garage was sold to a venture of MCZ Development — named Sedgwick Acquisitions, LLC — which intends to demolish the structure and build single-family homes there. In June, MCZ Development also bid $7.5 million to buy the former hospital at the site, 5700 N. Ashland Ave.

Neighbors had said they were concerned about what would happen to the water in the basement of the garage, which connects to portions of the hospital.

Gary Litherland, a spokesman for the city's Department of Water Management, said Monday that the city inspected the sewers near the garage to ensure they could handle the water from the garage. He said the department was not involved with the permitting process for dumping wastewater.

Last week, an aide in Ald. Pat O'Connor's 40th Ward office said MCZ Development was attempting to pump the water from the building before it freezes.

O'Connor did not respond to a request for comment Monday.

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