Chicago Department of Public Health Releases Proposed New Rules for Rock Crushing Facilities, Open for Public Comment

November 21, 2022

Ma'Lore Ledet    malore.ledet@cityofchicago.org

CHICAGO - The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced today its proposed new rules for rock crushing facilities 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. Public comments on the proposed rules will be accepted at chicago.gov/cdphcommunityinfo through Friday, January 20, 2023.

Rock crushers take stone, concrete, brick and other hard materials 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 crushers in Chicago. CDPH refined and clarified those proposed new rules in consideration of the community input received during an initial public comment period from September 17 through November 1, 2021. Starting today, CDPH is seeking a second and final round of public comments.

“CDPH’s commitment to environmental justice means that we keep strengthening the rules businesses must follow to reduce their impacts on neighborhood environment, health, and quality of life,” said CDPH Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D. “These rock crushing rules already reflect significant community input – and now we’re inviting final comments to make sure that all voices are heard, particularly those of people living near industry, as we raise the bar once again with our City regulations.”

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

  • Conduct continuous air monitoring and prepare detailed reporting four times each year to facilitate compliance monitoring by CDPH

  • Notify CDPH any time the monitors detect dust above a threshold, and also 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 harmful components such as lead, asbestos, and silica

  • Install and maintain appropriate paving

  • 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).

CDPH additionally sought input from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ensure that our rules incorporate their best-practice recommendations and align with their environmental justice efforts. The EPA's letter in support of the proposed rock crushing rules is available here.

These rules are modeled after CDPH's new Rules for Large Recyclers, and they 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, as well as manganese-bearing material operations. They will apply to both new and existing facilities; certain requirements for existing facilities will be implemented upon next permit renewal. 

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News Release Facts

Additional Information

Background: For new and expanding facilities, the detailed application requirements, requiring a design report and operating plan, take effect immediately on the Effective Date. For existing facilities, the new application requirements will apply to their renewal applications submitted one year after the Effective Date. For all facilities, the new operating requirements, including air monitoring, take effect no later than six (6) months from the issuance date of a permit issued pursuant to the requirements of these rules.

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