The Stream
Events, Alerts and News in the W&W Territory

Trash Talks    It's amazing how much waste households in the United States produce each month.. Read more ...
EPA Hearing in Grayslake    - Breaking News - Countryside Landfill seeks a permit to flare more Hydrogen Sulfide. Read more ...
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Trash Talks

The Lake County Recycling Task Force in conjunction with the Sierra Club, the Solid Waste Agency of Lake County, Incinerator-Free Lake County and the College of Lake County Sustainability Institute is hosting presentations by experts in the field of recycling. You are invited to attend. 

Who Jim Frey
When Tuesday, March 22nd, 2:00 - 3:00 p.m.
Where College of Lake County - Campus Map
Address 19351 West Washington Street, Grayslake
Room D 100 - D-Wing Map

Jim Frey, President, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Resource Recycling Systems, brings over 30 years of expertise and innovation in recycling and waste management program development to both public services and private enterprises. He specializes in program review, evaluation and planning, goal setting, economic analysis of options, regulatory and organizational strategies and program/service recommendations. Jim will present live, in person.

Jim serves on the Environmental Advisory Council for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, and is the Chairperson on the Michigan Waste Reduction Advisory Committee and a member of SWANA technical committees on Waste Collection, Recycling and Waste Transfer. Along with his numerous non-profit leadership activities, Jim has received multiple industry accolades including the 2002 Michigan Recycling Coalition’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Jim holds an MBA with High Distinction from the University of Michigan (specialization in Strategic Planning, Business Economics and Public Policy) and a BA in Philosophy from Grand Valley State University."

EPA Hearing in Grayslake

Voice Your Concern!

  When   Tuesday, March 22nd, 7:00 p.m.
  Where   Grayslake Community (Central) High School Auditorium
  Address   400 N. Lake Street

 - Breaking News -

There's good news and there's bad news. First the bad. Last week we learned from a FOIA request submitted by Barbara Klipp that SO2 emissions by the landfill operation already exceed 100 ton per year. That's 100 tons of poisonous, smog-forming, ground level ozone producing pollution into the air that we breathe. This must be stopped, and we need your voice at the hearing tonight to help make it clear that is what we expect. Now the good. This is significant in two ways. First, a pollution source that exceeds 100 ton per year is classified as a "major source" and is required to implement "Best Available Control Technology." Listen for people referring to this as "BACT" at the hearing. That should mean that the EPA will require them to install a scrubber. We must remain vigilant though, to make sure they do, and because all scrubbers are not created equal. We need the Landfill and Genco, the operation that burns the landfill gas to generate electricity (yeah!), to commit to a scrubber that will eliminate not just the SO2, but also the many accompanying noxious gases that contribute to foul odor. An odor performance based standard will assure that this operation does not discharge pollutants that damage our health and our communities. Another consideration that is this hearing was to evaluate the Landfill's request for a new permit for only 97.5 tons of SO2 per year, so it seems that a modified, larger, major source permit that grants our request for a scrubber is likely. Their initial 97.5 ton permit is often called a "synthetic minor" permit, because it is obvious that it is artificially limited to avoid major source requirements, even though the operation generates, or will soon generate more pollution. We must be vigilant to make sure that the pollution is not artificially divided into between the Landfill and Genco or another outlet, or released in different forms (SO2 and H2S or H2SO4 - all containing the same Sulfur pollutant) and characterized as different sources that allows both to stay below the major source threshold, and avoid BACT. Obviously, that would be a sham, and would not protect our health from this pollution. We need to hold the EPA to their responsibility to protect our environment and our health.

Grayslake and its surrounding communities are a great place to live and work. However, anyone who has passed by Countryside Landfill in the past several years, either by car or Metra, has noticed a worsening rotten egg smell. The odor travels into Grayslake, Mundelein and Libertyville, and even Wildwood, depending on the direction of the wind. This odor is hydrogen sulfide, a toxic gas.

The amount of hydrogen sulfide coming out of the landfill has been increasing steadily as a result of the landfill taking in gypsum-based drywall. Many other emissions are also increasing as the overall age of the landfill increases. To reduce the rotten egg odor from the hydrogen sulfide gas, Countryside Landfill has been burning it using a new flare. When hydrogen sulfide is burned, it creates sulfur dioxide, a major air pollutant which has significant impacts upon human health.

According to the Lake County Health Dept., Countryside Landfill is emitting approximately two times as much sulfur dioxide as their current permit allows. In February of 2010 the U.S. EPA issued a Federal Notice of Violation to Countryside Landfill for excess sulfur dioxide emissions. But according to Jasmine Keppner, a compliance officer for the Illinois EPA, the landfill has been in non-compliance with its sulfur dioxide emissions since December of 2008.

Rather than comply with their permit, the landfill has filed a request to the Illinois EPA for a new permit that allows them to release even more sulfur dioxide. If granted, their increased emission level will make Countryside Landfill a significant source of pollution. To protect Lake County’s air quality, the community and local environmental groups have requested that the Illinois EPA hold a public hearing to the inform the public and gather their concerns about the landfill’s plan.

This hearing will be held on March 22nd at Grayslake Community (Central) High School Auditorium, 400 N. Lake Street, at 7:00 pm. At this hearing, we strongly urge all residents in the surrounding area to ask the Illinois EPA to require Countryside Landfill to:

  • Keep its sulfur dioxide emissions at or under its current permitted levels or face stiff fines

  • Install a “scrubber” to clean up the hydrogen sulfide gas

  • Agree to not accept construction materials containing gypsum-based drywall—which is the main cause of the hydrogen sulfide gas

  • Install a backup generator at the facility to keep the flare operating at all times

We hope you will attend to show your support for keeping Grayslake, Libertyville, Mundelein and the surrounding area a wonderful place to live and work.

Join the Discussion

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