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Close to a year after blast, company has 30 days to finish cleaning up

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SLAUGHTER - The Department of Environmental Quality has given a chemical plant 30 days to cleanup after an explosion last November.

Monolyte Labs exploded and caught fire late last year. Since then, the company has been collecting and storing hazardous materials inside a number of large tanks that remain on the property.

DEQ says although the process has taken longer than expected, they have made progress.

"We do have a responsible party that continues to pay and we continue to see progress with the cleanup," said DEQ Environmental Compliance Administrator Tom Killeen.

Monolyte removed a handful of tanks last week. The problem has become disposing of the hazardous materials inside.

"They've tried 5-6 different methods, 3-4 different companies, and it's just a very difficult material to process," said Killeen.

People living near the facility filed suit against the owner Tuesday.  They claim they're still experiencing respiratory problems and other symptoms from the fire and cleanup.

Sisters Louise Johnston and Laura Gasquet joined the lawsuit, claiming the air they breathe has made them sick.

"We have enough health issues going on; my sister can't breathe with her COPD and Bronchitis," said Johnston.

The sisters say even stepping outside is a reminder of the issues they and their neighbors face.

"When it's real hot, you can smell.  It's still there. The faint smell is still there in the hot summertime," said Gasquet.

If Monolyte does not show progress within the 30 day limit, there could be strict penalties.

Monolyte was unavailable for comment.


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