Air Issues in Chicago's Pilsen Neighborhood
See also Pilsen Area Soil Assessment where U.S. EPA’s November 2014 report on lead contamination in soils in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood is now available.
EPA continues to be concerned about air pollution in the Pilsen neighborhood. In January 2013, EPA and the State of Illinois signed a consent decree with H. Kramer and Co. to resolve violations of the Clean Air Act and state air pollution violations at the firm's brass smelting foundry in the Pilsen neighborhood.
Update - August 2015
The average lead concentrations at the Perez Elementary lead monitor from January 2015 through May 2015 (the most recent data available) was only 0.02 micrograms per cubic meter, or only 3 percent of the highest concentration, which was measured in December 2010 (0.580 micrograms per cubic meter).
Monthly average lead data from Perez Elementary School ambient air monitor 2010-2015 (PDF) (3 pp, 205 K) May 2015
The monthly average lead values have been below the NAAQS since the beginning of 2011.
Update - December 2014
Although the January 2013 consent decree did not require ambient air monitors in the community, it did require “parametric monitoring” to ensure that the lead pollution control devices--the pulse-jet baghouse filters and High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters--operate effectively. This parametric monitoring continuously measures the pressure upstream and downstream of the baghouses and HEPA filters to ensure that leaks do not occur. If the measurements exceed manufacturer’s guarantees, an alarm sounds, and H. Kramer must immediately replace the broken filters to prevent leakage.
Both filter systems were in place and operating by August 12, 2013. In addition to the continuous monitoring, H. Kramer must ensure efficient operation of the control system, maintain appropriate records and keep track of several additional criteria.
Prior to the January 2013 two ambient lead monitors were operating near the H. Kramer facility at the Perez Elementary School and Juarez High School. The Juarez High School monitor was removed by the Illinois EPA, but the Perez monitor remains operating. The average lead concentrations at the Perez Elementary lead monitor for 2014 was only 0.02 micrograms per cubic meter, or only 3 percent of the highest concentration, which was measured in December 2010—0.580 micrograms per cubic meter.
You will need Adobe Reader to view some of the files on this page. See EPA's PDF page to learn more.
Air Quality System (AQS) Ambient Monitoring Data
- Monthly average lead data from Perez Elementary School ambient air monitor 2010-2015 (PDF) (3 pp, 205 K) May 2015
- Lead Monitoring in the Pilsen Neighborhood - April 2011
- Monitoreo del plomo en el vecindario de Pilsen - April 2011
- Ambient monitoring data from Air monitor #1 and #2 for Pilsen area January 2010 - March 2013 (PDF) (7 pp, 45 K)
More information about air emissions
Nonattainment Designation for the 2008 Lead National Ambient Air Quality Standard
- Federal Register: Air Quality Designations for the 2008 Lead (Pb) National Ambient Air Quality Standards (PDF) (24 pp, 229K) Nov. 22, 2011
- Illinois Area Designations for the 2008 Lead National Ambient Air Quality Standards (PDF) (16 pp, 1.6MB) Nov. 8, 2011
- Response to Comments on the State and Tribal Designation Recommendations for the 2008 Lead (Pb) National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) (PDF) (14 pp, 525K) October 2011
- Fact Sheet Final Revisions to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Lead (PDF) (6 pp, 94K)
- October 2008 Final National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Lead - General Overview (PDF) (21 pp, 778K)
- News Release: U.S. EPA and State of Illinois announce settlement with H. Kramer; company will spend $3 million to reduce air pollution Jan. 2013
- Federal Register: Notice of Lodging of Proposed Consent Decree under the Clean Air Act (PDF) (1 pg, 202KB) Feb. 6, 2013
- Complaint, H. Kramer & Co. (PDF) (25 pp, 95K) Jan. 2013
- Notice of Lodging of Proposed Consent Decree (PDF) (4 pp, 36K) Jan. 2013
- Consent Decree (PDF) (86 pp, 2.63MB) Jan. 2013
- Notice of Violation for H. Kramer (PDF) (6 pp, 56K) April 2011
- Finding of Violation for H. Kramer (PDF) (6 pp, 51K) March 2011
- Announcement of Clean Air Act lawsuit against Midwest Generation Aug. 2009
- Memorandum Opinion and Order (PDF) (32 pp, 1.2MB) March 2011
- Consent Agreement and Final Order Settlement Agreement for H. Kramer (PDF) (9 pp, 309K) May 2007
- Finding of Violation for Fisk Generating Station and Commonwealth Edison Company (PDF) (19 pp, 837K) July 2007
- Finding of Violation for H. Kramer (PDF) (7 pp, 269K) June 2005
From the Enforcement & Compliance History Online (ECHO) Database
Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) data
- Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Program
- Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) EZ Query