We reviewed the letter from Baxter to the Long Lake Improvement and Sanitation Association (LLISA) dated September 2, 2016. We are disappointed that Jose Almeida has not authorized a responsible reply to both the LLISA and SPILL letters. However, we will address our concerns with the answers that Arthur Gibson, the VP of Environmental, Health, Safety and Sustainability at Baxter, gave to LLISA.
Baxter's letter is full of more of the same misrepresentations of the truth that Baxter has historically told the Lake County Board and the local residents. These stakeholders are simply requesting that Baxter connect to the public sewer. We are sickened by the corporate spin, which Baxter expects will satisfy the residents of our Squaw Creek Watershed. Connecting to the public sewer will not only reduce the "bad stuff" that Baxter is permitted to discharge into the Squaw Creek Watershed, but would eliminate the "bad stuff" that Baxter discharges into the Squaw Creek Watershed that is not permitted. The continuation of this permit is unnecessary due to the proximity and availability of public wastewater treatment facilities, but also the continuation of this permit is inappropriate given the history of violations. Our objections are being sent to each of the IEPA officials that Baxter contacted, so that each one understands that the residents of the Long Lake area and the residents of the Squaw Creek Watershed want the truth reflected in the IEPA permitting records.
Click here To see what our FACT CHECKING HAS UNCOVERED, along with links to our sources and opportunities to read the documents received from the IEPA through the FOIA process.
While Baxter touts their environmentally conscious actions such as donations to the Millennium Trail, we are concerned with the health of our ecosystems and the fact that the continued issuance of the NPDES permit to Baxter is not warranted. The pollution that is sent into the watershed is identifiable as a factor that is worsening the health of Long Lake. The violations that Baxter has had in 40% of the past 10 quarters show that they are not adequately treating the wastewater to even the standards of the NPDES permit, and those standards are not in line with what our watershed and lake need to improve. We need better than even those standards. The wastewater treatment needs to be completed at the regional wastewater treatment facility, so that the public can be assured that this is being handled competently, with all due respect given to the public health and to our watershed. Our rights to cleaner water have been compromised by the continuation of this permit, and we want the NPDES permit to end.