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La Organización sobre Derechos y Reformas Ambientales de Pilsen
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How much lead has H. Kramer emitted in Pilsen?

Mike Dvorak, PERROfugitive emissions escaping from H. Kramer
August 20, 2005

About This Data

All of the data contained in this document is historic.  PERRO only has access to historical values of polluter data which is available through the US EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) Data. At the time of this writing, the most current TRI data released is through 2003.

Fugitive Air Emissions from H. Kramer

H. Kramer fugitive emissions, 1990-2003

H. Kramer emits more lead in Pilsen from fugitive emissions than it emits from its smokestacks. Fugitive air emissions containing lead “are not released through a confined air stream.” This type of air pollution comes out through cracks in the sides and roof of the building. Enough emissions can come from H. Kramer in this way that it can fill the streets with smoke, as a video made by Pilsen residents in 2003 shows.  H. Kramer claims that it is only emitting steam from its plant, but the TRI data shows that significant amounts of lead (as high as 2,885 lbs. per year) enters the local environment surrounding the facility via fugitive emissions.  Between 1994 and 2003, H. Kramer emitted an average of 2544 pounds of lead per year into Pilsen. H. Kramer’s fugitive emissions average from 1994–2003 is 67% higher than its point source emissions for the same period (see below for point source emissions). H. Kramer can hardly claim that it runs a clean process when 2/3 more of its lead emissions escape in the surrounding environment through the cracks in it's building and roof rather than its smokestacks!

point source or stack emissions coming from H. Kramer

Point Source Emissions of Lead

H. Kramer emits much less lead from its smokestacks, i.e. point source emissions than it does via fugitive emissions.  Point source emissions are defined as emissions that “occur through confined air streams such as stack, vents, ducts, or pipes.” Point source emissions are preferable to fugitive emissions because they allow for easier calculation of the pollutant transport when it leaves the stacks. Between 1994 and 2003, H. Kramer's average emission of lead from point sources was 1521 pounds per year. 

Current air permit

H. Kramer’s current air pollution permit was issued from the Illinois EPA on May 11, 2001 [operating permit]. The current permit is a “Lifetime Operating Permit” and can only be expired upon request of the Illinois EPA. After such request, the permit expires 180 days thereafter.annual lead point source emissions from H. Kramer, 1990-2003

Currently, H. Kramer is not regulated for lead by its Illinois EPA air pollution permit.  Since H. Kramer emits less than 10 tons per year of lead, it's considered a minor operator by the Clean Air Act.  The Clean Air Ac’s rules do not have any provisions for protecting adjacent communities to point sources of pollution. Unfortunately, emitting several tons of lead per year in the middle of a field not considered any different than releasing the same amount of lead in a high density neighborhood like Pilsen. Also, since H. Kramer doesn’'t emit over 10 tons lead/year, it isn't required to use “maximum achievable control technology” (MACT) and is allowed to run with less pollution efficient processes and equipment. [US EPA, p. 2]




PERRO is a grassroots community organization located in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago.
For more information, please contact Dorian Breuer at (312) 854-9247 or email