Former Siemens site progress draws criticism from local stakeholders

October 30, 2014

A former Siemens factory site in Batavia, Illinois has elicited frustration from local officials. According to the Chicago Tribune, the factory originally closed its doors in 2006, and the buildings were demolished in early 2009. Extensive remediation work was then performed to remove traces of trichloroethylene from the area. 

Trichloroethylene is a volatile organic chemical, most commonly used in manufacturing processes to remove grease from fabricated metal parts. If ttrichloroethylene enters drinking water, it can cause problems with liver function and lead to increased risk of cancer. 

Today, a chain link fence surrounds the former factory site, and all that remains is a large expanse of concrete and the foundations of the former buildings. The disagreement with local officials stems from the company's inaction in restoring the site to green space, as was originally agreed. 

"The residents have had enough," Scott Buening, Batavia's community development director, told the Chicago Tribune. "It's time that they come in and clean up their mess."

Buening says that the current state of the property is negatively affecting nearby property values and becoming a drain on the community. Several community meetings have been held regarding the issue, and the company was unresponsive until an ordinance violation complaint was filed. Siemens officials explained that they were waiting for further environmental testing before removing the slabs of concrete. 

A community spokesperson told the source that it was unfortunate that the site has been reduced to this state. When the factory was in operation, it employed nearly 650 workers, many of whom walked to work from nearby neighborhoods, and the company generously supported the community with programs like scholarships. 

Failure to address remediation in a timely and cost-efficient manner can negatively impact an organization's public image, as well as drain local economies. Environmental consultants can help determine the most efficient and cost-effective means of moving forward.