| Connect Follow us on Twitter Like us on Facebook
About | Subscribe | Advertise


Download our free e-book! Surface Preparation & Safety

Paint and Coatings Industry News

Main News Page

IL EPA Seeks Order at Paint Blast Site

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

More items for Environmental Controls

Comment | More

A Chicago-area paint factory that was the scene of two explosions and a fire earlier this month will not reopen until state authorities know what caused the accident and how the cause is being addressed, officials say.

The company also has some cleanup work ahead of it, authorities say.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency is preparing an interim injunction order that would prevent Fox Valley Systems Inc. of Cary, IL, from reopening until the company satisfies several conditions, assistant counsel John Waligore said in an interview Monday (March 18).

The coatings plant was rocked March 6 by two explosions nearly 90 minutes apart and a blaze that left three people injured. The company manufactures traffic, athletic, and marking paint and striping equipment.

Fox Valley Systems blast
Stephanie Price

The blasts blew out walls on both sides of the plant, authorities said. Owners are still deciding whether to rebuild. The cause of the accident is not yet known.

The second blast was captured on amateur video.

Cause under Investigation

The cause of the explosions is still unknown, which is one of Illinois EPA's concerns. The agency is one of several involved in the investigation, which also includes state and local fire authorities and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The coating company, which has made no comment on the accident, has been cooperating with the Illinois EPA, Waligore said.

"Our concern is that we need to know what caused the explosion and fire, ... so that they can prevent whatever happened here from happening again," he said.

Fox Valley Systems video

Amateur video captured the second of two explosions that rocked coating maker Fox Valley Systems this month. The blasts and fire injured three people.

He added, "Our goal isn't to close this company but, before they do restart, to address whatever risks were made evident by this accident."

3 Conditions

The company has spoken with Illinois EPA about the likely terms of an impending order, Waligore said. The order  is expected to require Fox Valley Systems to:

  • Conduct a root cause analysis of the accident;
  • Determine any runoff contamination and clean that up; and
  • Develop a plan to remove flammable chemicals and propellants that remain in the facility.

Water samples in a nearby retention pond show "fairly high levels of acetone and toluene" from the runoff of water used to fight the fire, and "a lot" of chemicals and propellants remain in the factory, Waligore said.

The retention pond is not on the coating factory's site but belongs to the industrial park where the plant is located, he said. The pond has wells in the bottom, and environmental authorities are concerned about groundwater contamination.

Fox Valley Systems Fox Valley Systems Fox Valley Systems
Fox Valley Systems

Coating maker Fox Valley Systems, founded in 1970, calls itself "the original marking and striping company" and the inventor of the first aerosol spray can that works upside-down.

Soil contamination is a lesser concern, and all storm sewers have been flushed out, Waligore said.

To Rebuild or Not?

The fire seriously damaged the company's production line, and officials are still determining whether they can rebuild and reopen, Waligore said.

Founded in 1970, the company has had a few problems with OSHA in recent years. In 2004 and 2009, the company paid fines for two serious violations each time. Both investigations were triggered by complaints.



Tagged categories: Accidents; Acetone; Aerosol coatings; Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); hazardous materials; Health and safety; Striping; Traffic paint

Comment Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.

The one way to control
a tank: DRYCO

Temporary climate control equipment. Dehumidifiers,
Heaters, A/C, Power, More…
Call: 866-379-2600

SABRE Autonomous Solutions
Safety, Productivity, Quality. Robotic Blasting

Learn how this simple to use, field deployed, automatic robot is eliminating hazards in major confined, cluttered and complex surface preparation projects.

Nationwide Overspray
Profession Overspray Removal Services

The Finest Name in Safe Overspray Removal. We specialize in removing all contaminants from any surface. Family Owned and Operated for 33 years! Fully insured. Satisfaction is guaranteed.

SSPC: The Society for Protective Coatings
SSPC 2016 Register Now!

SSPC2016 is earlier this year, don't forget to book your plane tickets and hotel. See you soon. For more information visit

Novatek Corporation
Dustless Coatings Removal

Strip it, clean it, and profile it,
all dust free! High production
rates and Blast like finishes.
Comply with new lead

Blastox/The TDJ Group, Inc.
Blastox - One Step
Lead Abatement

Don't waste money on added labor steps with other methods. Don't mix, meter or apply at the job-site. Avoid strict hazardous waste rules.
Let your painters paint

Sidewinder/Persyst Enterprises, Inc.
The Sidewinder Model M2 Solvent Recycler

Combat the rising cost of gunwash, thinners, acetone & more while drastically reducing waste disposal coat.

Detail Masters
Overspray Removal

We offer professional, turnkey service and unparalleled quality!
Our process can save hundreds— even thousands of dollars. It's fast, environmentally safe and 100% guaranteed.

Julbert, Inc.
Built from the ground up.

Dust Collectors Available!
We deliver to your Jobsite!
Built Tough! Priced Right!
PH: 208-437-2100

Avalotis Corporation
Choose experience. Choose quality. Choose safety.

Avalotis Corporation has been meeting and exceeding clients’ specifications and expectations for almost 50 years. The first name in painting and protective coatings: Avalotis.

Technology Publishing

The Technology Publishing Network

The Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings (JPCL) PaintSquare
Durability + Design Paint BidTracker

EXPLORE:      JPCL   |   PaintSquare News   |   Interact   |   Buying Guides   |   Webinars   |   Resources   |   Classifieds
REGISTER AND SUBSCRIBE:      Free PaintSquare Registration   |   Subscribe to JPCL   |   Subscribe to PaintSquare News
MORE:      About   |   Privacy policy   |   Terms & conditions   |   Site Map   |   Search   |   Contact Us

© Copyright 2000-2015, Technology Publishing / PaintSquare, All rights reserved
2100 Wharton Street, Suite 310, Pittsburgh PA 15203-1951; Tel 1-412-431-8300; Fax 1-412-431-5428; E-mail