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La Grange officials say quarry blast unacceptable, prep for meeting with quarry company

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013 7:12 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Nov. 8, 2013 5:07 p.m. CDT
(Matthew Hendrickson -
A sign along East Avenue warns of explosives in use at the quarry in McCook.

LA GRANGE – The village isn't ruling out legal action against Hanson Material Service Corporation for damage to residences caused by a seismic event Monday that was felt across the Chicago area and as far away as Wisconsin. 

Representatives from La Grange and other municipalities will meet with Hanson officials next week to discuss the incident, which La Grange Assistant Village Manager Andrianna Peterson said was "not acceptable" and "something that cannot occur again."

"The village is exploring all different types of possibilities to be responsive to resident concerns regarding the ongoing blasting at the quarry," Peterson said.

At about 12:35 p.m. Monday, seconds after a routine blast conducted by Hanson, a 3.2 magnitude seismic wave shook buildings throughout the area and alarmed residents, who suspected an earthquake.

At Little Joe's restaurant in Countryside, six tiles fell from the ceiling as about 20 customers and three employees ran from the building. 

La Grange officials are encouraging residents whose property was damaged as a result of the incident to document the damage and report it to the Lyons Township Quarry Complaint Line at 1-866-934-3278. The village is also asking residents who file reports to notify the village manager's office by calling 708-579-2313. The village is keeping records of residents filing reports to ensure the claims match those filed with Hanson. 

Since Monday, Peterson said the village has received hundreds of calls from residents reporting damage from the incident. Most were not serious, but some reported significant damage, such as cracks in the plaster of their walls.

An evaluation of village facilities determined there was no damage to village property from the incident, Peterson said. 

Hanson Director of Corporate Communications Jeff Sieg said in a statement released Monday that the blast was consistent with typical quarry operations and the seismic event felt seconds later throughout the area was likely unrelated.

Wednesday afternoon, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources released a statement after a two-day investigation at the McCook quarry that said Hanson operated within state regulations. 

Shortly after, La Grange posted an update on its village website about the report, which concluded:

"The village would like to assure residents that the report from IDNR does not mean that the matter is closed. The village’s evaluative work and advocacy efforts have just begun and will be ongoing for the foreseeable future. These are the first of many steps which need to be taken to advance our interests that fundamental changes to the Hanson Quarry need to occur."

Peterson said she will attend next week's meeting with Hanson along with Police Chief Mike Holub and possibly Village President Tom Livingston.

"I think something has to change," Peterson said. "This is an issue of quality of life for residents, and it can't be tolerated."

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