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State investigators: No wrongdoing in Monday quarry blast in McCook

Published: Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013 6:11 a.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013 6:14 a.m. CDT

McCOOK – A two-day investigation by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources found no wrongdoing by the company at Federal Quarry that conducted a blast seven seconds before the start of a magnitude 3.2 seismic event that was felt across the Chicago area. 

The department's Office of Mines and Minerals (OMM) released a statement Wednesday afternoon that Hanson Material Service Corporation operated within the statutory limits for blasting and quarry operation after a state inspector reviewed the company's blasting records and measurement readings, which were taken properly, the office said.

"In this instance, our inspection found no violations of state law," said Mike Falter, head of the OMM's Blasting and Explosives Unit, in the release. 

Measurements from the quarry show the blast vibration registered at .35 inches per second, well below the 1 inch-per-second limit set by state regulators. 

"Our review of quarry records does show measurement equipment picked up vibrations from a second and separate event approximately seven seconds after the initial blast," Falter said. "What this secondary event was, or what caused it, is outside our regulatory expertise."

Also Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski, who felt the seismic event in his Western Springs home, requested a federal investigation of the blast by the U.S. Department of Labor and/or the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. 

Lipinski, who said his home shook for five seconds, called the incident "unacceptable" because of the potential damage to nearby homes and businesses.  

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