Jun 22, 2007

Two Die in Illinois Wastewater Plant Incident

Two men were killed in Stickney, Ill., after one collapsed in an underground vault at a wastewater treatment plant, and the other went in to save him. The two died from either exposure to fumes, or lack of oxygen.

According to the Chicago Tribune the victims have been identified as William Kachavos, 45, and Rodolfo Aguilera, 47. It is not yet clear which man initially collapsed.

The underground vault is located outside the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District treatment plant. The men both worked for Metropolitan Biosolids Management LLC, of Evanston, Ill. Chicago Tribune reports that the company is working on building a facility inside the treatment plant to dry sewage material into pellets for soil fertilization.

The worker that collapsed first was in the vault to inspect a new water main for leaks. The vault is about 10 feet deep and 8 feet across. The purpose of the vault is to provide access to pipes that have recently been installed to deliver water to a building under construction within the plant. Two motors that produce carbon monoxide gas were running near the vault at the time of the incident.