Residents say Lincoln Park scrap metal plant polluting air

CHICAGO – Residents in the Lincoln Park neighborhood said a scrap metal plant is polluting the air and they’re accusing the city of doing nothing about it.

General Iron, which is on Clifton Avenue and Kingsbury Street near located near a potential site for the new Amazon headquarters and a huge residential development, has been fined by the EPA in the past.

General Iron was also shut down for a bit back in 2015 after a fire for several code violations. The EPA got involved in 2006 and fined General Iron $250 and forced them to make nearly $1 million in upgrades. People who live near the area said the air is still dirty and a health hazard.

Warren Baker lives in Lincoln Park and after he got a metallic taste in his mouth, he decided to spend tens of thousands of dollars of his own money to finance an air quality test.

The test was done by a professor and doctoral student at the University of Illinois at Chicago. On Tuesday night, they told people their tests showed levels of certain metals, like titanium tungsten iron and aluminum, were two times more than what the state air monitors found.

The city is pushing back. In a letter, the public health commission doctor, Julie Morita, said the study Baker paid for is incomplete and the levels in the test do not exceed the EPA ambient air quality standard.

She said her conclusions are not political.

The plant is located near a planned multimillion dollar development that will transform this area as well as being near potential spot for Amazon’s second headquarters.

Baker said the city needs to put public safety first. He talked about the 2015 fire that forced the city to shut it down for a while general iron fixed some code violations.

The family-run business has been in Lincoln Park for more than 100 years.

It told the Chicago Tribune a six months ago it follows all EPA guidelines.

Baker said he’d be fine with the scrap yard in the neighborhood as along as they contained the air and the water leaving the plant.

People at the meeting said the city needs to take action or they will in the form of a lawsuit.

“Anecdotally we know there is a problem. We have a tip the tip of iceberg this pilot study, it tells us there’s something to worry about. What I think the city should do next is undertake all of this testing like other cities do and get to the bottom of it,” Baler said.