March 22, 2011 Illinois EPA hearing update

Many thanks to everyone who attended the IL EPA hearing on March 22nd and spoke out against the increasing pollution levels at Countryside Landfill and Countryside Genco, and the request by both parties for an amended emission permit, including: IL Rep. Sandy Cole, Lake County Board members Melinda Bush and Pat Carey, Grayslake Village Trustees Ron Jarvis and Jeff Werfel, and members of the Sierra Club Woods and Wetland Group, and many local citizens of Grayslake, Vernon Hills, Third Lake, Wildwood and Zion, and even a Prairie Crossing Charter school student, who bravely put the IL EPA and Countryside Landfill on the spot and rendered them speechless with her pointed questions.
There was a large crowd at the hearing and much was revealed:

• Countryside Landfill is currently in non-compliance with its operating permit and has been since Dec. 2008.
• Countryside Landfill has been acutely aware that they have exceeded their permit since 2008, but has chosen not to implement adequate measures to achieve compliance.
• It’s likely that the IL EPA will grant the permit request, but expressed concern that it might soon be exceeded. Indeed, sulfur dioxide emission levels at the landfill continue to rise dramatically, and either exceed or will soon exceed the requested new permit limits. According to our data received from an IL EPA FOIA request, they have already exceeded their requested permit amount of 97.5 percent.
• It’s our understanding that many other landfills around the country have had similar problems with hydrogen sulfide gas from landfilling gypsum (the product Countryside Landfill took in which creates the hydrogen sulfide gas during decomposition). We have a textbook published by McGraw-Hill from 2002 on waste management practices which clearly states that hydrogen sulfide gas is one of the serious consequences of landfilling gypsum. Nevertheless, at the hearing Countryside Landfill manager Mike Hey said that they are in “uncharted territory.” Instead, the landfill hopes that hydrogen sulfide emissions from the landfill will decrease spontaneously, and that they can avoid the expense of a scrubber.
• Mr. Hey stated that they believe this is a spike in emissions, however information obtained in the FOIA request, shows that hydrogen sulfide levels have been steadily rising since 2008, and many experts working with us believe they have not yet peaked.
• Countryside Landfill continues to accept smaller deliveries of gypsum in other forms, but says they will not accept loads of ground gypsum.
• IL EPA was unsure whether a scrubber is required for existing sources that exceed the 100 ton/year of sulfur dioxide emissions.
• According to our consulting engineer, a properly designed scrubber can address both emissions and odor problems. An estimate from a document received from the county shows the top-line scrubber system is approximately $300,000 capital cost and $277,000 in annual operating expenses.
• Countryside Landfill is considering installing smaller, individual scrubbers at various gas wells, but has not installed them, yet, according to Mr. Hey.
• Installing individual scrubbers on various wells is considered a “penny-ante” measure and is known to be ineffective, according to our consulting engineer.
• Grayslake relies on the Landfill for a portion of its operating revenue. Two village trustees (Ron Jarvis and Jeff Werfel) appeared at the hearing and spoke against the permit request.
• The Landfill might challenge legal decisions that do not support their business strategy, specifically if their permit request is denied, according to Mr. Hey.

Here’s what you can do to help:
Written comments, considered with the same weight as verbal comments at the hearing, may be sent to: Illinois EPA, Dean Studer, Hearing Officer, Re: Countryside Landfill, 1021 N. Grand Ave. E., P.O. Box 19276, Springfield, IL 62794-9276; 217/558-8280 by April 21, midnight.

In your comments, please ask the Illinois EPA to require Countryside/Genco to keep its sulfur dioxide emissions at or under its current permitted levels or face stiff fines; install a “scrubber” to clean up hydrogen sulfide gas; agree to not accept construction materials containing gypsum; install a backup generator ensuring existing flare operates at all times.

The draft permits are accessible at http://www.epa.gov/reg5air/permits/ilonline.html.

The IL EPA will respond to all relevant concerns and questions in a formal responsiveness document (required by federal NEPA law).

A decision whether to grant a new air pollution permit is anticipated by June 20, 2011.

In addition, it’s come to our attention that we have other avenues that we can pursue to ensure Countryside Landfill installs a comprehensive scrubber system, whether or not this permit is issued. If you would to participate, please contact us.

Incinerator Free Lake County
www.incineratorfree.com
incineratorfreelakecounty@gmail.com
(847) 665-9418
Like us on Facebook: Incinerator Free Lake County
Follow us on Twitter: Incineratorfree

It’s been a busy year at Incinerator-Free Lake County!

MIDWEST SUSTAINABILITY GROUP – OUR NEW NON-PROFIT:

Inspired by all of our regional successes, we have formed a new non-profit called, Midwest Sustainability Group.  We are in the final stages of completing our legal corporations (501-C3 and 5010C4) and our website.  We’ll link to the new website as soon as it’s ready.  In the meantime, you can follow us on Twitter (@midwestsg) or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MidwestSustainabilityGroup

NEW LOGOS:

Both IFLC and Midwest Sustainability have new logos (thanks to artist and friend, Bob Stotts for the awesome logos!) We branded them together as a smokestack morphed into a tree.

SOCIAL MEDIA:

You can also find us on Twitter @incineratorfree and on

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Incineratorfree

Our social media following is growing considerably, please like and follow us and help us increase our following!

NEW CAMPAIGN; A STATEWIDE CAMPAIGN ON FOODWASTE!

In an exciting new chapter for Incinerator-Free and Midwest Sustainability, we are launching a new campaign along with the Sierra Club and Illinois Environmental Council on foodwaste which is three-part:

1)     Reducing food waste (food waste has huge environmental impact and was recently cited in a UN report as the 3rd largest Greenhouse Gas emitter after the emissions of the US and China!)

2)     Recovering unused but still edible food and redistributing it to feed the hungry.

3)     A legislative phaseout of food scraps out of Illinois landfills and in to compost.

Our campaign is called, Zero Waste; Zero Hunger and will have its own website.  You can follow us on Twitter (@ZerowasteZH) and on Facebook   https://www.facebook.com/pages/Zero-Waste-Zero-Hunger/1477089642511389

If you’d like to help out, please contact, Barbara Klipp at midwestsustainabilitygroup@gmail.com

TIME FOR A NEW 5-YEAR SOLID WASTE PLAN:

Can you believe it’s already time for a new Lake County 5-year Solid Waste Plan?!

Thanks to our ongoing advocacy and relationship building efforts, incineration and related combustion technologies like Gasification and Pyrolysis are NOT being considered in the new plan.  We are a member of the Citizen Advisory Committee for the new plan and are proactively engaging to include even more Zero Waste activities in Lake County.  Our co-founder and spokesperson, Barbara Klipp, member, Maryanne Natarajan and Midwest Sustainability Group board member, Chris Pado are all on the committee. 

In addition to participating in the formation of our new plan, we are also currently shepherding the recommendations of the 60% Recycling Task Force (which our efforts helped create) through the County Board.

CLEAN POWER LAKE COUNTY:

Incinerator-Free Lake County is a coalition partner with the coalition organization, Clean Power Lake County. We are a grassroots organization whose mission is to build a healthy, clean energy future for Waukegan and all of Lake County.

Currently we are working on a just transition and closure date for the Waukegan Coal plant.  We advocate for all stakeholders to be involved to see that the community, the workers and the environment is considered in future plans for this aging and polluting facility.

You can stay tuned with our activity and follow is on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Clean-Power-Lake-County-Campaign/489913647728637

IN MEMORIUM; KIMBERLY THOEDE:

Last December, our beloved, co-founding member, Kimberly Thoede, lost her battle with pancreatic cancer.  This was a devastating loss for us as Kimberly was, not only a co-founder, passionate advocate, inspirational leader and hard worker, but was loved by all. We are planning a fundraiser later in the year to raise funds for a grant to be given in Kim’s name for another woman making a difference to improve the quality of life in her community.  Stay tuned…

NEW LAKE COUNTY SUSTINABILITY DIRECTOR POSITION:

We joined with the local Sierra Club Group to advocate for a new Sustainability Coordinator in Lake County.  Environmental champion and Lake County Board Member, Pat Carey, carried this initiative as a member initiative and we supported her in this successful effort to create this new position.

We are delighted that, not only were we successful in that advocacy, but that the county was able to find an excellent candidate to fill the new position. K.C. Doyle, previously the Sustainability Director of Oak Park, is our new (and first) Sustainability Coordinator and we are eager roll up our sleeves and get to work with her!

CLEAN AIR:

In 2014, The American Lung Association again gave Lake County an “F” on its “State of the Air” annual report card. http://www.lung.org/about-us/our-impact/top-stories/state-of-the-air-2014-top-story.html .

We have had several activities this year in support of clean air including:

•  A presentation to the Lake County Board Health and Community Services Committee along with the Sierra Club and Respiratory Health Association to advocate for greater efforts to lesson our air pollution and raise awareness

• Testifying at the US Environmental Protection hearings on the Tier 3 Tailpipe standards and on carbon emissions for coal and gas fired power plants

• Asking State Senator, Terry Link and other elected officials, to advocate for a more aggressive air monitoring program in Lake County

• Participation as a coalition partner with Clean Power Lake County

• Continuous monitoring and oversight of Countryside Landfill in Grayslake

RECYCLING & ZERO WASTE:

• ILLINOIS STATE TASK FORCE ON THE ADVANCEMENT OF MATERIALS RECYCLING:

We have been participating on the Illinois Task Force for the Advancement of Materials Recycling and advocating for Zero Waste policies at the state level. We will have ways you can support us in that effort soon.

• GRAYSLAKE BEACH CLEAN UP:

Last year, on June 8th we joined the Grayslake Park District in their annual beach clean up.  It was so much fun that we decided to make it an annual event.

Our favorite moment was when IFLC member, Dick Hosteny, found a book entitled “Environmental Science” embedded in the muck along the parameter.  Now that’s how we like our irony!

UPCOMING EVENTS:

SATURDAY, JUNE 7TH 8AM BEACH CLEAN UP AT GRAYSLAKE BEACH

• SATURDAY, JULY 19TH (10AM – 1PM) RECYCLING EVENT WITH STATE REPRESENTATIVE SAM YINGLING AT GRAYSLAKE NORTH HIGH SCHOOL

Hosted and Maintained by: