WTTW Chicago Tonight

General Iron is the last vestige of an industrial past, tucked between the tony neighborhoods of Lincoln Park and Bucktown, abutting the new Lincoln Yards development. It’s had a contentious relationship with some of its neighbors, who have complained about air pollution from dust and particulate matter winding up in streets, porches and backyards.

This weekend, 2nd Ward Ald. Brian Hopkins collected “fluff,” which he says is a toxic tumbleweed of carcinogenic substances emitted from General Iron.

“It’s a health hazard to the neighborhood, and even though improvements have been made, if you’re emitting less toxic materials than before, is it glass half full or half empty? You’re still emitting toxic materials,” Hopkins said.

Last week, the Lightfoot administration finalized a deal long in the works for General Iron to close up shop by the end of next year. And it imposes strict new environmental regulations on the company. Earlier this summer, it installed a $2 million regenerative thermal oxidizer, which it says reduces the emission of volatile organic compounds by 98%, and instead lets out water vapor. General Iron says it’s in compliance with all EPA standards of particulate matter and lead emissions, but the company says no system is 100% fail-safe.

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