CLARK CO., IL. (ECWd) -
Earlier this week the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency was called to Mill Creek Lake in rural Clark County, Illinois.
A houseboat owned by "Jason" (who resides in Indiana) had sunk while docked at the lake, which is part of the Clark County Park District.
According to officials on the scene, a small glass toilet valve had frozen and cracked, which permitted water to enter the houseboat, causing it to sink. Once under water, remaining fluids on the boat were released into the lake. Some of these were gasoline, oil, and other fluids which were within the houseboat. There are two generators, and two gasoline engines in this boat.
This contaminated the water, at least three other houseboats, some shoreline, and the boat docks.
The Park District state that the boat owner had permitted his insurance to expire - leaving the costs of cleanup on Clark County taxpayers, unless and until the Park District's insurance pays or the houseboat's owner reimburses the district for the cleanup costs.
IEPA contracted with a company to remove the boat from the lake, but during removal, it partially sunk again, causing more fluids to escape. IEPA ahd instructed the contractor to take the boat apart to clean the contamination from with it, but according to sources on the ground, the contractor's plans are now to simply wipe the contamination from where they can reach.
Three other houseboats are being removed from the lake so they can be decontaminated.
The docks will be removed, disassembled, and cleaned - a Park Official has stated they didn't think the docks would be able to be re-installed do to their age and condition.
The lake shoreline will be cleaned in the areas of contamination.
The Clark County Park District Board will now consider a policy to require removal of all boats from the lake during the winter months. The board will also consider their actions against the boat owner who had permitted his insurance to lapse.