Chicago Department of Public Health Releases New Rules for Rock Crushing Facilities to Strengthen Environmental and Public Health Protections

March 7, 2023


Ma’Lore Ledet

CHICAGO – The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced today its new rules for Reprocessable Construction/Demolition Material Facilities (i.e., “rock crushing” facilities). The rules are designed to reduce dust and improve air quality in communities surrounding these facilities, implement continuous monitoring, and enhance CDPH oversight through greater reporting and record-keeping requirements. This is the most recent step in CDPH’s continuing efforts to protect the environment and promote environmental justice by reducing the burdens of industrial facilities on people who live nearby.

These rules are modeled after CDPH’s new Rules for Large Recyclers, and build on the recently passed Air Quality and Zoning Ordinance  and other important environmental protection measures like strengthening the City’s Bulk Materials Rules and banning new petcoke, coke and coal facilities, andmanganese-bearing material operations. The new rules will apply to both new and existing rock crushing facilities, and certain requirements for existing facilities will be implemented upon their next permit renewal.

Rock crushing facilities are an important part of the municipal waste management system and the City’s construction and demolition debris recycling ordinance. These facilities take concrete, bricks, rock, stone and paving asphalt and process them into smaller, more manageable pieces that can then be used as fill material at construction sites and in road projects.

In September 2021, CDPH issued a preliminary draft of proposed new rules to update and expand the existing requirements for rock crushing facilities in Chicago. CDPH refined and clarified those proposed new rules in consideration of the community input received during an initial public comment period. CDPH then held a second, final comment period from November 21, 2022 through January 20, 2023 and received detailed comment letters from both industry representatives and environmental and community advocates.

“CDPH values public engagement and we appreciate the significant input we received from local community groups, environmentalists and industry leaders,” said CDPH Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D. “After making several changes to our proposed rules based on public comment, we are confident that these new rules will reduce negative public health and environmental impacts on communities nearthese facilities, while also improving our department’s ability to have stronger oversight through additional data and notification requirements.”

CDPH’s new rules for rock crushing facilities will require all rock crushing facilities to: 

  • Conduct continuous air monitoring and prepare detailed reporting four times each year to aid compliance monitoring by CDPH  
  • Notify CDPH any time the monitors detect dust above a threshold, and have a plan in place to investigate and address such occurrences  
  • Maintain annual plans detailing steps they will take to make sure dust does not leave their sites  
  • Conduct sampling of processed materials for lead to make sure they are safe for offsite use, as well as dust sampling to identify any potentially harmful components such as lead, asbestos, and silica   
  • Install and maintain appropriate paving in and around their facility
  • Provide information about traffic impacts of their facility  

Sites located along waterways and those that discharge to municipal storm-only sewers must also prepare a detailed pollution prevention plan. In addition, facilities wishing to operate beyond typical operating hours must prepare a noise impact study (government infrastructure projects exempted).   

Following the second public comment period, CDPH made additional changes to the rock crushing rules in response to advocacy comments. A sampling of those changes include:

  • Facilities must provide information about the location of air monitors, and monitor height must be included in data provided to CDPH with real-time notifications.
  • Facilities must establish a process for receiving and recording complaints they receive from the public. 
  • Idling reduction plans must include all vehicles waiting to come onto a facility’s property, regardless of ownership, and facilities must produce and implement an outreach and enforcement plan to educate customers about anti-idling requirements.
  • Facilities have a new notification requirement for emergency situations that require an increase in materials accepted at a facility, and facilities must return to permitted volumes following the emergency.
  • CDPH will notify facilities in writing and provide a basis for facility air monitor relocation.
  • Facilities have a requirement to repair or replace damaged tarps only applies to vehicles within the operator’s control. However, the facility must have a tarping policy to minimize dust migration on all other vehicles, and refuse services to improperly tarped trucks. 

For more information about CDPH’s new rules for rock-crushing facilities and to view a summary of public comments received during the second comment period, visit



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