All posts by Jerry

Is this what we want next to Juarez High School?…

There are fires at metal shredding facilities around the country at a rate of at least one a month.  Here is another example of the dangers of this industry…

EPA cracks down on Redwood City company polluting San Francisco Bay

By Paul Rogers

POSTED:   01/10/2012 12:04:00 AM PST | UPDATED:   2 YEARS AGO


Click photo to enlarge

Ships bound for the Far East load scrap metal at Sims Metal… (US Environmental Protection Agency)

A Bay Area metals recycling company that drew widespread attention — and a fine — for a fire that sent a huge plume of black, acrid smoke into the air over Silicon Valley five years ago is facing new pollution charges from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The EPA said Monday that it has issued a notice of violation to Sims Metal Management, located at the Port of Redwood City, for polluting San Francisco Bay with lead, mercury, PCBs, copper and zinc. Under the Clean Water Act, Sims could face fines up to $37,500 a day unless it cleans up.

At its 13-acre bay front site in Redwood City, Sims shreds roughly 300,000 automobiles a year, along with appliances and other metal products, and loads the materials via huge conveyor belts onto ships bound for China, Korea and other countries, where they are made into new products.

During inspections last March and in August, EPA officials found high levels of toxic pollutants believed to come from the shredded metal products in the soils and sediment where the facility meets Redwood Creek, a wide body of water that flows into San Francisco Bay. Mercury levels were 110 times the federal government’s protective levels; lead was five times over the levels and copper was 86 times. PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, a carcinogenic chemical banned in 1979 and commonly found in older cars and industrial equipment, were found to be at levels 10,000 times the federal government’s acceptable levels for soil.

Federal officials said the pollution at such levels poses a risk to fish, birds and other species in San Francisco Bay.

“The bay has been subjected to a history of pollution, and we are doing our best to clean it up,” said Jared Blumenfeld, the EPA’s regional administrator in San Francisco. Continue reading Is this what we want next to Juarez High School?…

Is this what is coming to Pilsen?…


Last Tuesday, February 11th, a fire broke out at the Rich Metals metal recycling facility in Blue Grass, Iowa.  As a result, a nearby by Elementary school had to be evacuated.  Is this what is in store for Juarez High School if Pure Metals gets its way and builds a metal recycling facility across the street from Juarez?…

Hearing on Pure Metals shredder postponed one month…

We are being told the hearing on the Pure Metals LLC’s proposal to build a metal recycling facility next to Juarez High School has been postponed. The Zoning Board of Appeals was set to hear Pure Metal’s proposal at City Hall at 2:00 PM today, but due to construction work at City Hall it is being canceled.

We will update you as soon as we have more information.

Important Zoning Board of Appeals hearing this Friday could green light metal shredder in Pilsen community…

AcmeThis Friday, January 17th, the Pure Metal Recycling proposal to build a metal recycling facility in the Pilsen community will receive a hearing at the Zoning Board of Appeals at City Hall in downtown Chicago. This will be an important step towards the proposal becoming reality. After careful consideration over many months, after consultation with community members and public health experts, PERRO decided in late November to oppose the project. On Dec. 9th, PERRO delivered the following statement to Alderman Solis expressing our position on the project and the reasons we oppose it…

PERRO Oppose Pure Metal Recycling

PERRO plans to attend the hearing and speak against the project. We are looking for others from the Pilsen community to do the same. It is important members of the Pilsen community have their voice heard at Friday’s hearing.

Zoning Board of Appeals Hearing
Friday, Jan. 17th – 2:00 PM
City Hall – 121 N. LaSalle St., 2nd Floor

If you can attend the hearing please contact us at… (312) 854-9247 or…


PERRO launches Saturday morning Environmental Justice Training Program Jan. 25th…

YCAP Youth Flyer - jerry edits-page-0

PERRO is very excited about the launch of our long planned Environmental Justice (EJ) Training Program! This program invites both local youth and adults to learn about EJ principals, learn how to conduct scientific sampling in the community for various pollutants, and how to apply this knowledge to solving environmental problems in our community. The program is a joint effort of PERRO and the Field Museum’s Earthforce environmental education program.

Sessions will be held every Saturday, starting Jan. 25th, from 10 AM until 12:00 PM at Lozano Leadership Academy (corner of Blue Island Ave. and Western Ave. – exact room and building location to be announced). We expect the program to wrap up in June.

Would you like to be part of this new exciting environmental education program? Would you like to learn more about the environmental justice movement? Would you like to learn how to conduct soil, air and water tests? Would you like to investigate potential environmental problems in the community? Here is your chance.

Though the bulk of participants will be local high school students, we have limited openings for others who would also like to participate. All are encouraged to apply.
If you are interested, contact program coordinator Stephanie Dunn for more info at….
(312) 768-9949 or


PERRO wants to hear from you…

AcmeIf you were unable to make the November 13th Public Forum on Pure Metal Recycling’s proposal to open a scrap metal recycling facility in the Pilsen neighborhood along Loomis St. from Cermak Rd. to the river, we still want to hear from you.  Pure Metal Recycling plans to open a facility which will collect and shred scrap metal.  To find out more about the proposal see these following news articles…

To let us know what you think, click on one of the following links to answer a quick survey.



PERRO celebrates Loewenthal Site clean up with new US EPA chief Gina McCarthy…

Yesterday members of PERRO meet with the newly appointed Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Gina McCarthy.  We discussed the ongoing partnership between PERRO and the U.S. EPA to tackle several contaminated sites in the Pilsen community and several area sources of pollution.  PERRO members expressed their concern about the high levels of lead in soil throughout the community; in particular at homes and properties near the H. Kramer and Co. brass smelter at 1345 W 21st St. and along the railroad tracks owned by BNSF on Sangmon St.  But much of the event was meant to celebrate the success of the remediation at the Loewenthal site at 947 W. Cullerton St. which PERRO drew attention to in November of 2012 and which the US EPA clean up this past Summer.  For press reports of the meeting, see the following links…,0,4935975.story

The following video by CAN-TV is of a press conference held jointly by PERRO and the US EPA in June at the beginning of the Loewenthal site clean up…

Pilsen Community Hearing on proposed new metal recycling facility…


Join PERRO at a community hearing on Wednesday, November 13th at Juarez High School for a discussion on Acme Refining Co.’s proposal to open a new metal recycling plant in the Pilsen neighborhood along Loomis St. from Cermak Rd. to the river. Acme Refining plans to open a facility which will collect and shred scrap metal under the name Pure Metal Recycling. You will get the opportunity to hear from representatives of Acme Refining and ask questions about how this impacts you as a Pilsen resident. For example:

* What are some of the environmental impacts of their operations (noise/dust)?
* What sustainability measures is Acme Refining Company committed to?
* How will their operations impact traffic in the community?
* How many local jobs is Acme Refining Company committed to creating in Pilsen, and for Pilsen residents?

Please join us at this event to find out, and bring any additional questions you have:

Pilsen Community Hearing on proposed new metal recycling facility
Juarez High School – 1510 W. Cermak Rd.
Wednesday, November 13th
6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Let us know you are coming…

Community Forum on Green Space in Pilsen – Sept. 19th…

New Green Space in Pilsen?
What do you think?
What do you want?

GreenSpace2 GreenSpace1

Residents of the Pilsen community have an historic opportunity to expand green space (parks, gardens, river walks, etc.) in our neighborhood. Proposals have been put forward for new green space at the now closed Fisk Coal Fired Power Plant on Cermak Ave. and the former Lowenthal Metals site at 947 W. Cullerton Ave.

Which proposals do you support?
What do you want to see?

Come see what has been proposed and offer your own ideas, suggestions and input…

Thursday, Sept. 19th – 6:30 PM
Casa Morelos – 2015 S. Morgan St.

We need your input. Make sure your voice is heard!

Invite your family, friends and neighbors.

For more info…  Call: (312) 854-9247  or  Email:

Public meeting on pollution issues in Pilsen…

PERRO (The Pilsen Environmental Rights and Reform Organization) invites you to a open public meeting on Wednesday, June 5th at 7:00 PM.  The meeting will update Pilsen residents about progress on several environmental issues affecting our community.  The meeting will include…

  • Update on the clean up of the heavily contaminated Lowenthal site near the Walsh School, Growing Station Garden, Casa Morelos and Alivio Medical Center.

  • EPA efforts to test soil around the Pilsen community for lead contamination.

  • Efforts to develop green space and access to the Chicago river at the closed Fisk power plant site on Cermak.

  • Developments at the Mary Zepeda Native Plant Garden on 17th Street.

WE ALSO WANT TO KNOW WHAT CONCERNS YOU?  We will devote part of the meeting to hearing your thoughts, input, concerns regarding environmental issues in our community.

So please join us for this meeting to get caught up on what we are doing and to let us know what you think about the state of the environment in Pilsen.

PERRO Public Meeting
Wednesday, June 5th – 7:00 PM
Efebinas Cafe – 1640 S Blue Island Ave.