Sunday, March 15, 2009

Activist protest Chicago's "Toxic Dirt" ordinance

Chicago Tribune: Critics question soil reuse plan
March 15, 2009 7:50 PM | No Comments

Chicago environmental activists today urged the city to delay approval of a proposal that would allow crews to reuse soil from construction sites even if the dirt contains lead, arsenic, benzene and other chemicals.

Activists from the Pilsen neighborhood said their community has too often been a dumping ground for toxic materials and that the ordinance, which will come before the City Council's Environment Committee on Monday, raises too many questions to merit speedy approval.

"For many, many years the city has not taken soil contamination seriously, and it's our responsibility as communities of color that are severely impacted to call upon them and say it's too quick to make a decision," said Kim Wasserman of the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization.

The city's soil contains plenty of contaminants after decades of heavy traffic and industrial activity. Dirt removed from construction projects must be transported to landfills and replaced with earth that typically is taken from Downstate farmland.

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