Construction companies under investigation for dumping substance into Chicago River

CHICAGO -- Two large construction companies are under investigation for dumping a substance into the Chicago River.

The investigation started after Peter Kendall, managing editor of the Chicago Tribune, snapped a photo of the crew and tweeted it Thursday morning. Shortly after, he got a reply from the Illinois EPA and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District that said both agencies were investigating.

The construction site is located along Wacker Drive and between Washington Street and Randolph Street in downtown Chicago.
Investigators believe the substance was likely just ground water and soil.

But workers with Clark Construction and Case Foundation, who are building a tower along the river, did not have a permit to be pumping water including into the river, even if it is a mix of water and soil.

The Baltimore-based Clark Construction is an international company. A source in the construction business told WGN News it is a well-respected company and he was surprised to learn the company wouldn't have the proper permits.

In a statement the company said a worker for Case Foundation failed to follow correct procedures and also said “Clark takes responsibility for this matter and the actions of its subcontractors.”

The company said the substance was just soil and water from digging holes for the foundation but also said the water should have been stored in a tank. It is currently doing its own testing to see if any chemicals were used.