News and Events Involving Environmental Law, Published by Chicago Environmental Attorney Dave Scriven-Young
of Peckar & Abramson, P.C. -- (312) 239-9722

Consent Decree Calls for $100,000 Civil Penalty and Continuous Monitoring for Alleged Clean Air Act Violations

U.S. EPA recently announced that a proposed consent decree in United States v. S.H. Bell Co., Case No. 16-cv-07955, was lodged with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.  In a civil action filed in August 2016, the United States sought a civil penalty against the defendant for alleged violations of the Clean Air Act.  These violations were alleged to have occurred at the defendant’s bulk material handling facility located at 10218 South Avenue O in Chicago, Illinois.  Click here for a copy of the consent decree.

The complaint alleged that the defendant’s facility receives bulk materials via shipments by truck, rail, and barge.  It then stores bulk materials at the facility until the material is purchased and loaded onto a truck or railcar for shipment to a customer.  The facility handles and stores manganese and manganese-based alloys, ferro alloys, direct reduced iron, frac sand, pig iron, silicon carbide, silicon metal, fluorspar, primary metals, refractory products, scrap metal, steel, fertilizer, and limestone.  The facility sometimes processes the material it stores, and this processing includes crushing larger pieces to smaller pieces and screening out larger pieces of material.

The complaint also alleged that an EPA inspector found fugitive particulate matter emissions from a storage pile at the facility to have opacity readings that exceed the 10% limit in the applicable regulations and the facility’s permit.  EPA requested that the facility install air monitors to measure particulate matter emission concentrations in real-time, but the facility allegedly refused.  EPA’s lawsuit alleged that this refusal was unlawful and that the facility violated the particulate matter emissions requirements of the law as well as of the facility’s permit.

Under the proposed settlement, the facility agreed to pay a civil penalty of $100,000, to install, operate, and maintain four continuous particulate matter emission monitors for one year, and to report that data to the EPA.

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