Consultant To Present Findings From Cortland School Incident

Feb 6, 2014

Dozens of students and staff at Cortland Elementary School received medical treatment Jan. 14 after complaining of nausea.

The smell from Waste Management's nearby landfill entered the school's ventilation system after  a construction worker unearthed old garbage. The company says strong winds carried the odor to the school.

DeKalb school district Assistant Superintendent Doug Moeller says a certified industrial hygienist will present the findings of his investigation Thursday night (2/6/14).

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"He spent a considerable amount of time talking to staff in the building, and did testing for different gases: hydrogen sulfide, carbon monoxide, methane etc. He spoke with first responders to determine what type of symptoms the students presented, and he also met with the folks at Kishwaukee Hospital."

Moeller says the consultant will also present recommendations for the District.

Katie Bryant has two children who attend the school.  She plans to attend tonight's gathering and hopes it sheds light on some of her concerns.

"My main question is, 'Are we doing all the monitoring and testing needed to ensure the safety of the children?' "

Bryant says her son has suffered from anxiety since the incident.

Waste Management has agreed to a judge's order that it take extra precautions to prevent the release of noxious gases in future.  

Illinois' Attorney General filed a civil lawsuit against  the company, alleging several violations of environmental laws. A status hearing  has been scheduled for next month.

According to a spokesperson, Waste Management is planning to have representatives at the meeting to listen to the School’s consultant presentation.  The spokesperson says Waste Management remains committed to "taking all the necessary steps to ensure this isolated incident does not take place again."

The meeting is open to the public. It will be at 6 p.m. in the auditorium of DeKalb High School.