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‘Black slurry’ pours into Kankakee River after blast

Damage Kankakee River Metropolitan Agency wastewater treatment plant after blast Monday. | Mike Voss~AP

Damage at the Kankakee River Metropolitan Agency wastewater treatment plant after the blast Monday. | Mike Voss~AP

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An explosion at a Kankakee wastewater treatment plant leveled one building Monday and sent a liquid byproduct pouring into the Kankakee River, but officials said no drinking water was contaminated.

No injuries were reported at the Kankakee River Metropolitan Agency plant. The seven employees there at the time have been accounted for, Kankakee Fire Chief Ron Young said.

Methane gas used to run the plant may have built up and caused the explosion, officials said.

The explosion released black slurry, created when water is treated at the plant began leaking from holding tanks. While firefighters were able to divert some into a reservoir at the plant, some spilled into a storm drain that leads to the Kankakee River, Young said.

“We don’t know how much has been spilled in there, and we don’t know if it’s hazardous,” he said.

The plant has five tanks that can hold more than 1 million gallons in all, and it wasn’t clear how many were damaged by the explosion. But firefighters had the leaking stopped by Monday afternoon. AP

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