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Developers behind new Loop office tower settle pollution lawsuit with Illinois EPA

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The project was charged with discharging waste water directly into the Chicago River

110 N. Wacker rises along the south branch of the Chicago River.
Jay Koziarz

The development team behind the 55-story office tower at 110 N. Wacker Drive will pay $75,000 to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency as part of a settlement in a lawsuit alleging the project dumped thousands of gallons of contaminated water into the Chicago River, according to news from Loop North News.

The incident came to light last June, early in the construction process, when Chicago Tribune editor Peter Kendall spotted crews pouring cloudy, silty waste water from one of the project’s foundation shafts directly into the south branch of the river.

In November, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed a lawsuit at the request of the Illinois EPA against four entities—Case Foundation, Clark Construction, Riverside Investment and Development, and 110 North Wacker Titleholder. “The Chicago River is not a dumping ground for companies to get rid of contaminated water,” said Madigan at the time, in a statement.

The $75,000 penalty from the settlement will go into the Illinois EPA’s Environmental Protection Trust Fund. The terms of the agreement also include a provision for the state’s EPA to conduct inspections to ensure that crews continue to comply with regulations.

Since last year’s groundbreaking (and dumping incident), 110 N. Wacker has made significant progress toward reaching its 817-foot final height. Already, the distinctive riverwalk undercutting the building’s angled glass facade is coming together along the site’s western edge.

The Bank of America-anchored high-rise is expected to welcome tenants in late 2020. The Goettsch-designed development replaces a low-rise midcentury office building that was once home to Morton Salt and real estate company GGP.

The new riverwalk segment will cut beneath the building—supported by a trio of angled, trident-like columns.
Courtesy Goettsch Partners