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EPA Cites Chicago Carbon for Clean-Air Violations


CHICAGO, July 14 -- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 has cited Chicago Carbon Co. for alleged clean-air violations at the company’s coke-drying plant at 12308 S. New Ave., Lemont, Ill.

EPA alleges that Chicago Carbon modified its plant causing a significant increase in emissions of volatile organic compounds, particulate matter, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide without getting permits that would require pollution controls. In addition, the company failed to identify this in its application for a state-operating permit and failed to comply with testing and monitoring requirements.

“EPA’s mission is to protect public health and the environment,” said Acting Regional Administrator Bharat Mathur. “We will take whatever steps are needed to ensure compliance with the Clean Air Act.”

These are preliminary findings of violations. To resolve them, EPA may issue a compliance order, assess an administrative penalty or bring suit against the company. Chicago Carbon has 30 days from receipt of the notice to meet with EPA to discuss resolving the allegations.

Exposure to sulfur dioxide can impair breathing, aggravate existing respiratory diseases like bronchitis and reduce the ability of the lungs to clear foreign particles. Sulfur dioxide can cause acid rain and contribute to fine particle pollution. Children, the elderly and people with heart and lung conditions are the most sensitive to sulfur dioxide.

Nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone, or smog. Smog is formed when a mixture of air pollutants is baked in the hot summer sun. Smog can cause a variety of respiratory problems, including coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest pain. People with asthma, children and the elderly are especially at risk, but these health concerns are important to everyone.

Inhaling high concentrations of particulates can affect children, the elderly and people with heart and lung diseases the most.


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