A Good FOI-Driven Story: The Toxic Courthouse

After rumors and some public comments about toxicity in the county courthouse, KWQC News did the right thing — they FOIAd the reports.

The Knox County (Ill.) board is trying to figure out what to do with the courthouse. Board members voted to renovate the building and hired a construction company; however, a few board members decided to stop everything after tests on toxic substances came back.

KWQC submitted a Freedom of Information Act request and the results are back. Tests show asbestos in several parts of the building. Floor tiles, linoleum, textured parts of the ceiling, the boiler breeching and mud joints, all have asbestos.

25 random radon tests were done all over the building. The levels ranged from 2.2 to 28.5. A majority of those levels are higher than the EPA and Illinois Emergency Management Agency Recommended action level of 4.0.