SEATTLE (Scrap Monster): Residents have raised concerns that a Lincoln Park scrap metal plant releases contaminants including Lead and Freon that could be harmful to the environment. Neighbors have requested immediate intervention of city, state and federal administration to relocate the General Iron plant from residential location to some other location within the city where it could operate safely without affecting the health of neighborhood residents.
Residents met last night to discuss the results of independent air quality tests conducted by scientists from the University of Illinois. The meeting noted that the tests revealed excessive levels of toxic metals and particulate matter in the air surrounding the facility. However, the city public health commission doctor refuted the charges saying that the study is incomplete. Moreover, the levels in the test do not exceed the EPA ambient air quality standard. Meantime, the health commissioner assured that the department will work with the EPA to conduct more rigorous air quality tests in order to address the concerns. General Iron stated that it will not respond until it sees the test results.
The residents alleged that the company does not pre-screen the scrap metal for hazardous waste, toxins or contaminants. There are chances that contaminants are transported by wind to nearby neighborhoods when the ground up scrap metal is thrown airborne. The pollutants from scrap metal piles may be leaked onto the ground into adjacent Chicago River. Also, there are chances that scrap metal pieces may spill into the river when they are loaded onto barges.
According to residents, the facility had earlier spent almost $1 million in upgrades following hefty fines imposed on it by the EPA authorities. Several fire incidents have also been reported in the past. Residents also raised serious concerns about significant noise levels and regular explosions taking place at the facility.