Landfill leak sends dozens of Dekalb elementary students to hospital

Jan 15, 2014

Cortland Elementary School in relation to Waste Management's DeKalb County landfill.
Credit Google maps
Students return to Cortland Elementary School this morning, a day after the odor from a landfill sent dozens to a hospital emergency room.

About 70 students and staff members complained of nausea and headaches when strong winds blew the scent of old garbage into the school’s ventilation system. Kishwaukee Hospital Doctor Michael Koolish says many had slightly elevated levels of carbon monoxide in their blood.

Waste Management runs the landfill just east of DeKalb. It's in the process of a major expansion. Company spokesperson Lisa Disbro says  workers released the odor while digging…

"It would not be from our facility. Our facility would not be related at all to carbon monoxide.”

DeKalb School Superintendent James Briscoe says first responders did not find traces of ANY gas in the air when they arrived in the school. He says he wants to meet with Waste Management officials to find out how they will prevent such a leak from happening again.