EPA to oversee lead cleanup near Pilsen high school

EPA to oversee lead cleanup near Pilsen high school

Chicago (Oct. 6, 2015) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced a settlement with H. Kramer & Co., the City of Chicago and the BNSF Railway Co. to remove lead-contaminated soil near the Benito Juarez Community Academy in Pilsen. The alley at 21st Place behind the H. Kramer foundry and a portion of the BSNF railway spur at 21st Place and Cermak Road will also be paved to eliminate potential exposure to lead. EPA will oversee the cleanup, which is expected to begin this month and to be completed by the end of the year.

EPA has been investigating lead contamination in the Pilsen neighborhood since 2011. Soil samples collected in 2012 and 2013 from the alley, the railroad spur and several nearby residential properties showed lead contamination at levels which require cleanup. EPA continues to investigate lead contamination at the residential properties.

A 2013 consent decree signed by EPA, the State of Illinois and H. Kramer & Co. to resolve alleged Clean Air Act violations required the company to install new state-of-the-art pollution controls to reduce lead emissions. On Aug. 24, 2015, EPA released air monitoring data which demonstrates that the area around the facility now meets federal air quality standards for lead.

EPA continues to work closely with the City of Chicago and neighborhood organizations to provide information to residents about steps they can take to reduce exposure to lead contamination.

More information about soil contamination in the Pilsen neighborhood is available at http://www.epa.gov/region5/cleanup/pilsenareasoils/.

Job Posting: Community Organizer Position


Job Title:

Community Organizer

Mission of PERRO:

PERRO’s mission is to fight the disproportionate amount of pollution in the Pilsen and surrounding neighborhoods and to provide the community with the means and resources to struggle for their rights and Environmental Justice.

Job Purpose:

The purpose of this role is to facilitate the volunteers of the organization to continue it’s years­ long campaign against pollution and the re­-use of the closed coal­ fired power plants in Chicago. The Organizer will in addition perform administrative duties, conduct fundraising, ensure member retention and recruitment and work on outreach for the organization.

Email resume and cover letter to: victoria@pilsenperro.org


1. Fundraising

2. Administration

a. The PERRO organizer will seek out funds to maintain and expand organizational capacity. Including:

i. Organizing events

ii. Direct Appeals

iii. Grant Fundraising and researching funding sources

a. Expense and income record keeping ­ keep a list and save receipts to get to the treasurer.

b. Organizational development

i. Maintaining regular organizational meetings ­ The PERRO Organizer will ensure that regular weekly and monthly meetings are being maintained. The organizer will encourage other members to take on tasks such as meeting facilitation, note taking, outreach emails, Facebook updates, etc., but will ensure that these responsibilities are being fulfilled and that meetings are being held.

ii. Maintaining organizational communications ­ The PERRO organizer will ensure that organizational communications are kept up­ to­ date. These include the organization’s website, email lists, Facebook pages and monthly newsletter. The PERRO organizer will encourage members to assist in these tasks but will ensure they are maintained.

c. Looking for New Campaigns/opportunities for the organization

3. Future of Fisk site Campaign

a. Education

b. Mobilization

c. Technical/Governmental/Regulatory

4. Other Campaigns

a. Organize educational events for the Pilsen community.

b. Activate members for actions endorsed by the organization.

c. EPA & testing ­ interact with the EPA and other regulators to promote PERRO’s priorities

d. Elected officials ­ maintain relationships with elected officials

e. Meetings ­ Conduct public meetings to gage the views of the community.

5. Outreach

a. Organizing regular community forums and other public educational events. The PERRO organizer will seek to organize public forums on at least a quarterly basis. The organizer will also seek out other community educational opportunities at local churches, schools and other venues.­

b. Organizing public actions.­ Much of PERRO’s profile in the community and ability to act against neighborhood polluters in driven by actions in the community. Whether they be rallies, marches, vigils or other forms of public protests, PERRO’s organizer will look for opportunities to initiate public actions in consultation with the PERRO membership.

c. Coalition building ­ An important aspect of PERRO’s work is building relationships with other community organization. The PERRO organizer will seek opportunities to engage with other neighborhood organizations for mutual benefit.

6. Member Development

a. The PERRO Organizer will seek out, identify and recruit new members to the organization through various outreach strategies including public forums, neighborhood canvassing, neighborhood coalition building, community actions, and one­ on­ one meetings with potential new members.

Reports to:

PERRO (Pilsen Environmental Rights and Reform Organization) Coordinating Committee


The PERRO Organizer position reports to the PERRO CC. Weekly reports are required that summarize all the activities of the Organizer for the CC. The report will include updates and progress on the various PERRO projects/Campaigns. (organizer shall report to CC any urgent issues or information immediately if necessary)


– Minimum 3 years experience in organizing

– Commitment to social and environmental justice and agreement with organizational mission and goals

– Ability to work well with diverse groups and populations

– Excellent oral and written communication skills

– Skilled facilitator and familiarity with popular education principles

– Excellent organizational skills­­ good attention to detail and well organized

– Solid computer skills (knowledge of Microsoft Office, Internet, Social Media, and databases)

– Team player, self­ starter, quick learner, and ability to work in fast ­paced environment

– Flexibility to work some weeknights and weekends

– Bilingual in English & Spanish

– Part­ time

Ald. Solis says YES to metal shredder and NO to our health!

Ald. Daniel Solis supports the plans of the Pure Metals Company to build a metal shredding facility across from Benito Juarez High School. Shredders pose serious risks to the health and safety of the surrounding community through soil and water contamination, increased traffic, noise and vibrations, and air pollution that can cause cancer and other health issues.

Continue reading Ald. Solis says YES to metal shredder and NO to our health!

Mayor Emanuel announces next steps to transform Fisk Coal Plant site into community asset

Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined leaders of the Fisk and Crawford Reuse Task Force to announce today that the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) and NRG Energy have entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to explore potential redevelopment of the Fisk coal plant site into a CTA bus garage and maintenance facility. Significant sections of the Fisk site would also be set aside as open space and a park for use by the community, and the site will be better connected to the Chicago River. Continue reading Mayor Emanuel announces next steps to transform Fisk Coal Plant site into community asset

“NO METAL SHREDDER!” Say Pilsen Voters by 84%!

Voting on Nov. 4th 2014 at Lozano Library, Pilsen.

Yesterday the voters of Pilsen spoke; PERRO’s referendum to the people of the 2nd precinct, 25th Ward (where the shredder would be located) asking if the shredder should be opposed passed 84% in favor of opposition. See the results for yourself here.

Congratulations to the community for expressing their view and to the many PERRO volunteers who knocked doors, had hundreds of conversations with neighbors and handed out many more fliers!

If you are reading this and haven’t done so, please JOIN PERRO! Come to our next meeting! Contact Victoria Leigh Thurmond at (312) 854-9247 or victoria@pilsenperro.org to find out more.

Community meeting: Report out on Health Impact Assessment…

PERRO has been work with the Adler School of Professional Psychology on conducting a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) of the Pilsen community.  The purpose of the project has been to determine how additional green space in Pilsen is likely to impact health outcomes in the neighborhood.
Adler is ready to provide preliminary results of the HIA and gather more community input at a community meeting next Tuesday…
Community Meeting: Report out of HIA Findings
Tuesday, August 26th from 5:30 until 7:00PM.
Bartolome de Las Casas – 1641 W. 16th St.
We really hope you will all attend.  It is important to get your feedback before the report is finalized.Community Flyer- Pilsen 8.19.14-page-0

Elkhart residents warn Pilsen: Metal Shredders are dangerous!…


The company Pure Metal Recycling plans to build a metal shredder in Pilsen. Come to a public forum to learn about the dangers of metal shredders before they build one next to Juarez High School!   Find out from people who know — the residents of Elkhart Indiana, who fought for 3 years to shut down the dangerous metal shredder in their community. Several Elkhart residents are coming to Pilsen to talk about the explosions, noise and pollution that the metal shredder created in Elkhart.
Public Forum on the Danger of Metal Shredders
Wednesday, August 13th – 6:30 PM
Casa Michoacán – 1638 S. Blue Island Ave.
Let us know you are coming. RSVP at the following link…

PERRO, EPA and Lozano students host public forum on polluted soil in Pilsen…

SoilTestingPERRO, The US EPA and the students of Lozano Justice Leadership Academy are organizing a public forum for June 21st. At this forum you will find out the following…

  • The results of recent EPA testing of soils throughout the Pilsen community. Are we at risk?
  • The results of the Lozano students independent tests of soil in the Pilsen community.
  • What are the EPA plans to deal with this situation?
  • How can you protect yourself from contaminated soil?

THE EPA WILL ALSO TEST YOUR SOIL SAMPLES FOR FREE! For a flyer on how to collect soil samples, see this link…

Click here for soil sample collection instructions

Saturday, June 21st – 12 Noon to 2:00 PM
Lozano Leadership Academy – 2570 S. Blue Island

For more info call… (312) 854-9247 or… info@pilsenperro.org