Owners of now-closed Lincoln Park plant agree to pay $500,000 EPA fine

Reserve Management Group/Southside Recycling has since built a new shredding facility at its longtime property along the Calumet River at 116th Street and Burley Avenue.

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General Iron’s Lincoln Park operation.

The owners of the former General Iron have agreed to pay a $500,000 fine for alleged violations of the Clean Air Act at its now-shuttered North Side facility.

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The owners of a now-shuttered metal shredding and recycling plant in the Lincoln Park neighborhood have agreed to pay a $500,000 fine for alleged violations of the Clean Air Act, according the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The General Iron plant, which was on the North Side for decades, operated without a key permit and without the required “emission capture and control equipment,” the EPA said in a statement. The company later agreed to make changes necessary to comply with federal rules, the EPA said.

A spokesman for Reserve Management Group/Southside Recycling, which acquired General Iron in 2019, said the settlement means the company has now “fully complied” with EPA requirements.

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Southside Recycling has since built a new $80 million shredding facility at its longtime property along the Calumet River at 116th Street and Burley Avenue.

Randall Samborn, the company’s spokesman, also noted that last month, the EPA recommended that all metal shredders be enclosed and have an overhead exhaust hood, among other suggestions.

“Well before these recommendations were issued, Southside Recycling exceeded them by building a new facility with an enclosed shredder, overhead exhaust hood, and an enhanced emission control [system],” Samborn said.

A dispute with the city over an operating permit for the new facility has delayed its opening.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot has said the application for the permit is on hold at the request of the EPA, which has called for additional Southeast Side pollution studies to be conducted to determine the cumulative impact on residents’ health.

The company said it has been strung along by city officials who initially encouraged the move to the South Side. Earlier this month, a Cook County judge rejected the former General Iron’s latest effort to force the city to issue a permit for the car-shredding operation.

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