EPA Cited General Iron, Southeast Side Residents Concerned About Health Threats

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cited General Iron today for excessive air pollution, failing to install adequate pollution controls, and for not obtaining the correct air permit today. Since 2016, the EPA has conducted several inspections at the facility to investigate complaints and assess air pollution. The results of metals emissions test from June 2018 indicate that several metal hazardous air pollutants are present in the exhaust gases at detectable levels. The three highest metals measured were zinc, mercury, and lead.

General Iron recently announced plans to close their notoriously dirty North Side facility and open a new metal shredder in the Southeast Side, where residents have expressed serious concerns about yet another source of pollution locating in a community that is already overburdened with dirty industry.

The following statement is from Ald. Susan Sadlowski Garza, 10th Ward, the Southeast Side Coalition to Ban Petcoke and the Natural Resources Defense Council:

“The violations described by EPA are not a surprise—North Side communities have been complaining and pushing this facility to close for years. Instead, it is slated to move to the Southeast Side where the community is already overburdened by the cumulative impacts of the City’s worst pollution. After battling to rid the area of giant mounds of petcoke, the community is now dealing with neurotoxins contaminating the area. Why would the City continue to allow polluters into the Southeast Side?

“The EPA is taking action to address General Iron’s pollution on the North Side. Now the State of Illinois and City of Chicago must take significant steps to protect families from the growing health risks the area is facing—and that starts with addressing the threat General Iron poses to the Southeast Side.”


The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.

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