[in person] Pilsen Public Meeting: Sims Metal Large Recycling Facility Permit

Chicago Department of Public Health
Development
Environment
Health

Wednesday, May 15, 2024
6:00 p.m. — 7:30 p.m. CDT

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1919 S Ashland Ave, Chicago, Illinois 60608 Chicago, IL 60608 (Directions)

St Pius V Church

This is an in-person meeting and will include an additional hour of pay.

Official description: On April 22, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) shared an update regarding the Sims Metal Management (“Sims”) application for the large facility recycling permit. The original application was held for consideration due to the new and strengthened requirements under the Rules for Large Recycling Facilities, to ensure the safety and health of all Chicagoans, especially nearby residents. As part of these enhanced requirements, Sims has provided supplementary materials.

Pursuant to the Rules for Large Recycling Facilities, the submission of a complete application starts a 30-day public comment period, which began April 22, 2024. As part of this process, CDPH is hosting a public meeting, which will help the City better understand and address community concerns as it completes its review of the draft permit.

More information/materials at chicago.gov/envcommunityinfo.

Check the source website for additional information

Reporting

Edited and summarized by the Chicago - IL Documenters Team

Note-taking by Khalil Dennis

Community members are calling on City Council to amend legislation to stop a controversial recycling plant from continuing to operate in Pilsen.

Live reporting by Isabella Bonito

Community members are calling on City Council to amend legislation to stop a controversial recycling plant from continuing to operate in Pilsen.

bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt
Hi, I’ll be live-tweeting today's Pilsen Public Meeting regarding Sims Metal Management’s application for the renewal of its large recycling facility permit for #CHIdocumenters @CHIdocumenters. This meeting is hosted by the Chicago Department of Public Health (@ChiPublicHealth).

05:06 PM May 15, 2024 CDT

bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 2/41
The site in question is the Sims Metal Management (“Sims”) scrap metal recycling yard at 2500 S Paulina St. This site purchases and processes scrap metal and electronic waste with a specialization in bus, railcars & aluminum trailer recycling and stainless steel operations.
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 3/41
You can find more info about the Sims Paulina site’s services here: .
simsrr.com/locations/chic…
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 4/41
Sims’ original permit application for the Paulina St recycling site from Nov. 2021 has been held for consideration following new and strengthened requirements under the Rules for Large Recycling Facilities, to ensure the public health safety of Chicagoans and nearby residents.
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 5/41
The new strengthened requirements meant that Sims was required to submit supplementary information to have a complete application. Sims submitted that information on April 22nd which then commenced a 30-day public comment period, hence today’s Pilsen public meeting.
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 6/41
Today’s meeting is held at St. Pius V Church at 1919 S Ashland Ave. Attached are images of the scene before the meeting begins.
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 7/41
The meeting commenced at 6:13pm. Attached is today’s agenda.
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 8/41
“We’re here to discuss the renewal of a permit. It’s important our community has a due process,” says Alderman Byron Sigcho-Lopez in opening remarks. He compliments Mayor Johnson’s re-establishment of the Department of Environment (DOE), which is followed by audience applause.
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 9/41
As SIMS Metal representatives introduce themselves, an audience member boos after each introduction, prompting an announcement to please be as respectful and as civil as possible.
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 10/41
Here are today’s meeting objectives:
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 11/41
Dr. Ige, the commissioner of the Chicago Department Of Public Health (CDPH) reviews the following handout with the audience titled “CDPH Permit Process Guidelines for Consequential Facilities” which reviews current municipal code:
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 12/41
New guidelines to the permit process include more opportunities for public engagement and more oversight and protections for the community, Dr. Ige stresses.
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 13/41
New rules to the permit process include air impact study and air monitoring, notification to CDPH of air monitor exceedances, noise impact assessment and monitoring, and more stringent record keeping requirements.
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 14/41
The Sims large recycling facility(LRF) Permit under review is not proposing any new operations, but it is held under consideration due to high public interest regarding environmental justice concerns. Here is a timeline of Sims LRF permit:
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 15/41
* Correction to a prior tweet: Sims LRF permit was submitted on April 8th, not April 22nd. April 22nd, 2024 was the day the 30-day public comment period began.
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 16/41
Here is a slide emphasizing again how the Sims permit renewal is not proposing new operations or to expand or modify its facility:
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 17/41
Here are air monitoring rules on the federal, state, and city level:
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 18/41
Dr. Ige of CDPH ends her comments. Sims Metal representatives begin their presentation regarding the permit renewal.
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 19/41
A Sims Metal representative presents on air monitoring. He notes that PM10 particles (dust), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and metals are below the EPA’s standards. See more at:
epa.gov/il/sims-metal-…
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 20/41
Sims representatives discuss their six “Dust Boss” units which spray atomized mist to help capture dust.
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 21/41
In their closing remarks, Sims Metal stresses how they help recycle metal directly from the community, a lot of which comes from local community peddlers who make a living collecting metal to sell to the facility.
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 22/41
Public comment begins. Each speaker has 1:30min to speak.
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 23/41
Firstly, a representative from Pilsen P.E.R.R.O. (@PilsenPERRO) asks CDPH to deny Sims Metal the permit renewal. They claim how when General Irons was shut down in Lincoln Park, General Irons was emitting less than Sims Metal in Pilsen.
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 24/41
@PilsenPERRO They also note the health hazard of the facility to nearby schools, how the dust and operations can be seen from a nearby park, major emissions and public health concerns in a long term especially, and that there needs to be another public meeting before a decision is made.
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 25/41
@PilsenPERRO The second speaker is also from an environmental justice organization (although I missed the name). She stresses how Sims was sued a few years ago for environmental injustice. She stresses how the municipal ordinance should be also sharing what warrants the rejection of a permit.
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 26/41
@PilsenPERRO The 2nd speaker believes the high rates of asthma in children in Pilsen schools is not hereditary, but the fault of polluting companies like Sims Metal in Pilsen. “I’m really happy they’re doing what they’re doing, but they should be doing it in another place, not in Pilsen.”
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 27/41
@PilsenPERRO “Welcome to the most polluted community in Chicago,” opens the third speaker in public comment. Examples he states are airplanes flying overhead to Midway, the 8 railroad switching yards in the community, and the hundreds of companies like Sims that have had presence in Pilsen.
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 28/41
@PilsenPERRO The 4th public speaker, a Pilsen resident, stresses how the data in the application is 8 years old and such out-of-date data should not be permissible in this permit application.
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 29/41
@PilsenPERRO The 5th public speaker agrees that the data is out-dated with Sims Metal using data from a 2012-2016 source (missed the name), Census 2010 data, and another data sample from 2019 (whose name I also missed) in the permit application.
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 30/41
@PilsenPERRO The 5th public speaker expresses anger that the panelists are mentioning newer EPA data that has not been clearly publicly available. It seems pointless for there to be a public comment meeting without all relevant information being made public beforehand, he stresses.
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 31/41
@PilsenPERRO The next public speaker is from the Southwest Environmental Alliance. She is angry that there was no clear information made available about the health risks of the facility, especially to the children of schools on nearby blocks.
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 32/41
@PilsenPERRO The Executive Director of Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (@lvejo) shares a story from her co-worker. Her co-worker heard a large explosion leaving a birthday celebration, then realized the cloud of smoke was coming from Sims Metal.
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 33/41
@PilsenPERRO @LVEJO The co-worker noticed two fire trucks driving around in circles because they could not understand how to enter the Sims site. To the speaker’s understanding, a wall had to come down for the fire trucks to properly access the facility.
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 34/41
@PilsenPERRO @LVEJO Public comment ends. Dr. Ige agrees that there needs to be more community engagement before a decision is made. She is happy to extend the public comment period for 30 more days. Another public meeting will also be held within 30 days.
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 35/41
@PilsenPERRO @LVEJO Alderman Sigcho-Lopez closes out the meeting. He stresses listening to how the community wants more advance notice of public meetings and better access to data.
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 36/41
@PilsenPERRO @LVEJO Meeting adjourned at 7:48 p.m. This concludes the Pilsen Public Meeting regarding Sims large recycling facility’s permit renewal. Stay tuned for another public meeting on the same topic over the next 30 days. For more meeting coverage, check out .
documenters.org
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 37/41
@PilsenPERRO @LVEJO Here are the handouts provided by Sims at the meeting:
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 38/41
@PilsenPERRO @LVEJO Here are the handouts provided by environmental justice group Pilsen P.E.R.R.O. (@PilsenPERRO) at the meeting:
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 39/41
Apologize, my thread broke! Keep reading the rest of the thread here:
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 40/41
@PilsenPERRO @LVEJO To submit written public comments for the CDPH, submit them to envcomments@cityofchicago.org. The prior deadline was May 22nd. Although I have yet to find official confirmation online, the public comment period should be extended 30-days longer until June 22nd, per Dr. Ige.
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 41/41
@PilsenPERRO @LVEJO You can find links to Sims original permit application and new supplementary information here: .
chicago.gov/city/en/depts/…
Live reporting by Isabella Bonito

Community members are calling on City Council to amend legislation to stop a controversial recycling plant from continuing to operate in Pilsen.

bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt
Hi, I’ll be live-tweeting today's Pilsen Public Meeting regarding Sims Metal Management’s application for the renewal of its large recycling facility permit for #CHIdocumenters @CHIdocumenters. This meeting is hosted by the Chicago Department of Public Health (@ChiPublicHealth).

05:06 PM May 15, 2024 CDT

bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 2/41
The site in question is the Sims Metal Management (“Sims”) scrap metal recycling yard at 2500 S Paulina St. This site purchases and processes scrap metal and electronic waste with a specialization in bus, railcars & aluminum trailer recycling and stainless steel operations.
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 3/41
You can find more info about the Sims Paulina site’s services here: .
simsrr.com/locations/chic…
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 4/41
Sims’ original permit application for the Paulina St recycling site from Nov. 2021 has been held for consideration following new and strengthened requirements under the Rules for Large Recycling Facilities, to ensure the public health safety of Chicagoans and nearby residents.
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 5/41
The new strengthened requirements meant that Sims was required to submit supplementary information to have a complete application. Sims submitted that information on April 22nd which then commenced a 30-day public comment period, hence today’s Pilsen public meeting.
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 6/41
Today’s meeting is held at St. Pius V Church at 1919 S Ashland Ave. Attached are images of the scene before the meeting begins.
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 7/41
The meeting commenced at 6:13pm. Attached is today’s agenda.
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 8/41
“We’re here to discuss the renewal of a permit. It’s important our community has a due process,” says Alderman Byron Sigcho-Lopez in opening remarks. He compliments Mayor Johnson’s re-establishment of the Department of Environment (DOE), which is followed by audience applause.
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 9/41
As SIMS Metal representatives introduce themselves, an audience member boos after each introduction, prompting an announcement to please be as respectful and as civil as possible.
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 10/41
Here are today’s meeting objectives:
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 11/41
Dr. Ige, the commissioner of the Chicago Department Of Public Health (CDPH) reviews the following handout with the audience titled “CDPH Permit Process Guidelines for Consequential Facilities” which reviews current municipal code:
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 12/41
New guidelines to the permit process include more opportunities for public engagement and more oversight and protections for the community, Dr. Ige stresses.
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 13/41
New rules to the permit process include air impact study and air monitoring, notification to CDPH of air monitor exceedances, noise impact assessment and monitoring, and more stringent record keeping requirements.
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 14/41
The Sims large recycling facility(LRF) Permit under review is not proposing any new operations, but it is held under consideration due to high public interest regarding environmental justice concerns. Here is a timeline of Sims LRF permit:
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 15/41
* Correction to a prior tweet: Sims LRF permit was submitted on April 8th, not April 22nd. April 22nd, 2024 was the day the 30-day public comment period began.
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 16/41
Here is a slide emphasizing again how the Sims permit renewal is not proposing new operations or to expand or modify its facility:
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 17/41
Here are air monitoring rules on the federal, state, and city level:
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 18/41
Dr. Ige of CDPH ends her comments. Sims Metal representatives begin their presentation regarding the permit renewal.
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 19/41
A Sims Metal representative presents on air monitoring. He notes that PM10 particles (dust), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and metals are below the EPA’s standards. See more at:
epa.gov/il/sims-metal-…
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 20/41
Sims representatives discuss their six “Dust Boss” units which spray atomized mist to help capture dust.
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 21/41
In their closing remarks, Sims Metal stresses how they help recycle metal directly from the community, a lot of which comes from local community peddlers who make a living collecting metal to sell to the facility.
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 22/41
Public comment begins. Each speaker has 1:30min to speak.
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 23/41
Firstly, a representative from Pilsen P.E.R.R.O. (@PilsenPERRO) asks CDPH to deny Sims Metal the permit renewal. They claim how when General Irons was shut down in Lincoln Park, General Irons was emitting less than Sims Metal in Pilsen.
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 24/41
@PilsenPERRO They also note the health hazard of the facility to nearby schools, how the dust and operations can be seen from a nearby park, major emissions and public health concerns in a long term especially, and that there needs to be another public meeting before a decision is made.
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 25/41
@PilsenPERRO The second speaker is also from an environmental justice organization (although I missed the name). She stresses how Sims was sued a few years ago for environmental injustice. She stresses how the municipal ordinance should be also sharing what warrants the rejection of a permit.
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 26/41
@PilsenPERRO The 2nd speaker believes the high rates of asthma in children in Pilsen schools is not hereditary, but the fault of polluting companies like Sims Metal in Pilsen. “I’m really happy they’re doing what they’re doing, but they should be doing it in another place, not in Pilsen.”
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 27/41
@PilsenPERRO “Welcome to the most polluted community in Chicago,” opens the third speaker in public comment. Examples he states are airplanes flying overhead to Midway, the 8 railroad switching yards in the community, and the hundreds of companies like Sims that have had presence in Pilsen.
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 28/41
@PilsenPERRO The 4th public speaker, a Pilsen resident, stresses how the data in the application is 8 years old and such out-of-date data should not be permissible in this permit application.
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 29/41
@PilsenPERRO The 5th public speaker agrees that the data is out-dated with Sims Metal using data from a 2012-2016 source (missed the name), Census 2010 data, and another data sample from 2019 (whose name I also missed) in the permit application.
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 30/41
@PilsenPERRO The 5th public speaker expresses anger that the panelists are mentioning newer EPA data that has not been clearly publicly available. It seems pointless for there to be a public comment meeting without all relevant information being made public beforehand, he stresses.
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 31/41
@PilsenPERRO The next public speaker is from the Southwest Environmental Alliance. She is angry that there was no clear information made available about the health risks of the facility, especially to the children of schools on nearby blocks.
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 32/41
@PilsenPERRO The Executive Director of Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (@lvejo) shares a story from her co-worker. Her co-worker heard a large explosion leaving a birthday celebration, then realized the cloud of smoke was coming from Sims Metal.
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 33/41
@PilsenPERRO @LVEJO The co-worker noticed two fire trucks driving around in circles because they could not understand how to enter the Sims site. To the speaker’s understanding, a wall had to come down for the fire trucks to properly access the facility.
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 34/41
@PilsenPERRO @LVEJO Public comment ends. Dr. Ige agrees that there needs to be more community engagement before a decision is made. She is happy to extend the public comment period for 30 more days. Another public meeting will also be held within 30 days.
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 35/41
@PilsenPERRO @LVEJO Alderman Sigcho-Lopez closes out the meeting. He stresses listening to how the community wants more advance notice of public meetings and better access to data.
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 36/41
@PilsenPERRO @LVEJO Meeting adjourned at 7:48 p.m. This concludes the Pilsen Public Meeting regarding Sims large recycling facility’s permit renewal. Stay tuned for another public meeting on the same topic over the next 30 days. For more meeting coverage, check out .
documenters.org
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 37/41
@PilsenPERRO @LVEJO Here are the handouts provided by Sims at the meeting:
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 38/41
@PilsenPERRO @LVEJO Here are the handouts provided by environmental justice group Pilsen P.E.R.R.O. (@PilsenPERRO) at the meeting:
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 39/41
Apologize, my thread broke! Keep reading the rest of the thread here:
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 40/41
@PilsenPERRO @LVEJO To submit written public comments for the CDPH, submit them to envcomments@cityofchicago.org. The prior deadline was May 22nd. Although I have yet to find official confirmation online, the public comment period should be extended 30-days longer until June 22nd, per Dr. Ige.
bonitobuilt @bonitobuilt 41/41
@PilsenPERRO @LVEJO You can find links to Sims original permit application and new supplementary information here: .
chicago.gov/city/en/depts/…

Agency Information

Chicago Department of Public Health

The Chicago Board of Health formulates health policies and advises the Mayor and the Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner on all health issues. The board consists of nine members, including the president of the board. The president of the board is a licensed physician and, along with other members of the board, is appoined by the Mayor of the city of Chicago.

Many of CDPH’s public hearings are livestreamed on Facebook. Check here for past recordings: https://www.facebook.com/ChiPublicHealth/live_videos

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