City to conduct air quality study around Church Street Waste Transfer Station


Daily file photo by Daniel Tan

The 2nd ward. The City will begin a study on air quality around the Church Street Waste Transfer Station located in the 2nd and 5th wards.

Julia Esparza, City Editor

The City of Evanston will commence a study this May to measure air quality surrounding the Church Street Waste Transfer Station.

The city has enlisted RHP Risk Management to conduct the six-month study which will evaluate the air quality around the station and identify possible sources of contamination. The station, located at 1711 Church St., is not a new feature in the area, but Ald. Robin Rue Simmons (5th) said she is happy that the community gets to provide input in the project.  

“Lower-income communities have been disproportionately impacted by environmental injustices,” Rue Simmons said. “This study will allow oversight and if we are made aware of any issues, we will address it accordingly.”

The city, Ald. Peter Braithwaite (2nd) and Rue Simmons — whose wards contain portions of the station — will host an informational meeting regarding the study on May 2 at the Gibbs-Morrison Cultural Center. Simmons encouraged residents to attend the meeting in order to become familiar with the equipment and learn how the study will be carried out.

The study will be paid for through a settlement with Advanced Disposal, the operator of the Church Street Waste Transfer Station, according to the city website.

In 2016, the city sent out a survey to residents to gage how they thought the city should spend the $1.2 million awarded to the city in the settlement. The 10-question survey asked residents about their interactions with the station and to provide perspectives on future improvements.

The results of the survey showed that 81 percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed with developing a process to monitor environmental impacts of the station on the surrounding neighborhood.

Residents had been complaining about strong smells, loud noises and rodents coming from the station. According to the survey, over 50 percent of respondents expressed concern about odors, air quality, exposure to toxic or hazardous chemicals and disease-spreading animals.

Respondents who lived closest to the station indicated concern for environmental and infrastructure impacts, as well as the amount of green space, walking infrastructure and recreation amenities. Responses from residents closest to the station also expressed more interest in having a larger portion of funds spent on monitoring and evaluation.

The city has received complaints about these issues as early as 2000, according to city documents. In 2007, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency issued a violation notice to Veolia Environmental Services, the old name for what is now Advanced Disposal.

In response to these concerns, the city launched the survey and then a page on the city’s website that would serve “as the hub for public information,” regarding the station. Residents are encouraged to provide input on the impacts of the study as well as issue complaints, according to the city website.

“I am relieved that we will have this monitoring so all of our questions are answered and so we’re not living in the dark about how the environment is impacting us,” Rue Simmons said.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @juliaesparza10

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