Demolition Debris Removal Effort to Begin at Former Crawford Power Generating Station in Little Village

April 21, 2020

Chicago Department of Buildings and Chicago Department of Public Health will have ongoing presence onsite to ensure Hilco Redevelopment Corporation adheres to building and health codes as they begin removing demolition debris from site

Mimi Simon, Department of Buildings / Cristina Villarreal, Department of Public Health     Mimi.Simon@cityofchicago.org, 312.744.7384 / Cristina.Villarreal@cityofchicago.org, 312.502.5321

CHICAGO —  The Chicago Department of Buildings (DOB) Commissioner Judith Frydland and the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady today announced plans for a continued City presence at the former Crawford Power Generating Station as Hilco Redevelopment Corporation’s new subcontractor, Heneghan Wrecking, begins removal of debris following the problematic smoke stack implosion demolition that occurred on April 11, 2020. The objective of the clean-up effort is to remove materials resulting from the imploded smokestack and a nearby partially demolished building that are blocking utility easements and have also become an attractive nuisance to scrappers who regularly trespass to scavenge the site. 

“The building debris from recent demolition work poses a significant risk for the surrounding community and it is critical that the developer take immediate steps to remove the debris and reduce the risk of future incidents,” said Commissioner Frydland. “Any work will be performed strictly in adherence with the code, and always with the safety of the community in mind.  City inspectors will be stationed onsite to carefully monitor all work activity and violations will result in fines.” 

Heneghan Wrecking will lead the clean-up effort, replacing the previous contractor responsible for the implosion, MCM Management, who has been stripped of its onsite permits. Heneghan’s work will be guided by a comprehensive dust-mitigation plan, and demolition dust-mitigation plan,  which will be updated with additional safeguards as needed, as well as city, state and federal environmental regulations that will be strictly enforced onsite by DOB and CDPH inspectors. The new dust mitigation plan calls for additional water onsite at all times and additional street sweeping efforts throughout the impacted community and surrounding area. 

“The health and safety of our residents remains our top priority,” said CDPH commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady.  “CDPH will be closely monitoring construction dust to ensure full cooperation with the dust mitigation plan and working closely with a third-party environmental consultant to support our continued efforts in the community.”

In addition to City inspectors, this week CDPH will be dispatching a third-party environmental consultant, who will thoroughly inspect the site for any additional environmental issues. This holistic approach will allow current and future work to be conducted safely, while protecting the well-being of the community. 

These efforts follow the scheduled implosion of the smokestack at the Crawford site, 3501 S. Pulaski Rd., that resulted in an egregious dust emission settling into the surrounding Little Village community. The developer and its subcontractors have been issued 16 citations that could result in fines of up to $68,000 for the incident. Further, following robust conversations and collaboration with City leadership, the developer announced additional efforts to assist residents in the area, including distribution of masks, cleaning of private property and support for Federally Qualified Health Centers in the community. 

All structural demolition activity remains on hold at the Crawford site, while the clean-up efforts take place. Due to the dilapidated nature of the site, DOB will continue working with the developer to determine the immediate next steps to help ensure the safety of the site and prevent work site incidents. Additionally, DOB will work with the developer on a timeline to safely complete the demolition work remaining on the site. 

Last week, the City announced the preliminary results of the onsite dust samples returned no presence of asbestos, while air monitoring did not return increased particulate matter levels in the air. CDPH is continuing to analyze and validate the results from tests of samples taken following the dust emission from the scheduled implosion of the old smokestack at the former Crawford Generating Station. Results will be made public following the verification. 

Mayor Lightfoot has also announced a six-month moratorium on implosion demolitions citywide, pending the creation of a specific implosion permitting process with updated guidelines. For more information, please visit chicago.gov/crawfordstationresponse.

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