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Pilsen metal scrapper sued for violating state pollution regulations

Sims Metal Management, at 2500 S. Paulina St., allegedly failed an emissions capture test in May.

The Illinois Attorney General Office filed a lawsuit against Sims Metal Management Oct. 22.
The Illinois Attorney General Office filed a lawsuit against Sims Metal Management Oct. 22.

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul announced Friday a lawsuit against a metal scrapper in Pilsen that allegedly violated air pollution codes.

Sims Metal Management, at 2500 S. Paulina St., is accused of failing an emissions capture test in May 2021, Raoul said in a statement. The report alleges the shredder was capturing less than 50%, which was below mandated emissions control requirements of at least 81%.

“Sims’ actions created a public health risk by exposing the community to uncontrolled emissions from its facility,” Raoul said.

The scrapper shreds and recycles vehicles, major appliances and other sheet metal and metal clips. The materials are processed through a hammermill shredder that can release “volatile organic material into the environment,” according to the attorney general’s office.

“The location of this facility in an environmental justice community reinforces the need for careful oversight of pollution sources such as this,” Illinois Environmental Protection Agency director John Kim said.

The lawsuit seeks to require the company to develop and implement a control system that will achieve an overall reduction in uncontrolled emissions of at least 81% from the shredder, the attorney’s office said.

The company also will be required to construct a control system to achieve emissions reduction compliance approved by the state and continue to conduct emissions testing after construction to ensure uncontrolled emissions are reduced by at least 81%.

In a statement, Sims Metal Management said, “Although the emissions reading was fully compliant with the levels outlined by the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s federal guidelines, we agreed to work with IEPA to favorably address this issue, modify our permit, and install the advanced controls for both particulates and volatile organic compounds, rather than spend time on additional testing.”