Chicago Department of Public Health Releases Public Engagement Process for the Permitting of Large Recycling Facilities

November 30, 2020

New process will codify a strengthened community engagement process

Andrew Buchanan

CHICAGO – The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) today released new guidelines for the permitting process of large recycling facilities under new, strengthened rules that went into effect earlier this year and are designed to better engage the public in the review of such projects. The newly released guidelines provide opportunities for the public to comment on the CDPH permitting process in writing and, if there is significant public interest, at a public meeting. They also provide a detailed timeline for the public posting of CDPH permit applications, application review, preparation and posting of a draft permit and permit issuance. This engagement and review process will apply to consequential large recycling facilities – those that handle construction debris, process vehicles, have a history of environmental violations, or are located close to sensitive areas such as residences, parks, and schools.
RMG’s application to expand a recycling facility on the Southeast Side will be the first to be held to the strengthened standards in the rules for large recycling facilities and reviewed using this new public engagement process.
“The City’s top priority will always be the health and safety of our residents,” said CDPH Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D. “We look forward to hearing from all stakeholders as we begin the public engagement process, and we invite constructive feedback on the application and welcome proposals for special permit conditions that strengthen protections for our residents.”
The guidelines will apply retroactively to the RMG application, which was posted publicly on November 17. However, the 30-day public comment period on the RMG application begins today. All written comments related to the RMG application should be sent by email to by December 30, 2020. As part of the new guidelines, there will also be an opportunity for the public to participate in a virtual community meeting scheduled for December 10, 2020, at 6:00 p.m.
“I am looking forward to beginning an engagement process that meaningfully captures the voices of Chicago residents, especially those in the surrounding communities of these facilities,” said 10th Ward Alderwoman Susan Sadlowski Garza. “This process will help further the City’s ongoing commitments to transparency and inclusion."
In the interest of transparency, the City will post in a timely manner information, updates and documents regarding the proposed expansion of the metal recycling facility on the Southeast Side, including more details related to the upcoming community meeting, to the dedicated microsite.

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