EPA, Sims Metal Management reach agreement on air violations

Consent agreement designed to address problems at Sims Metal Management’s Chicago auto shredder.

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January 9, 2019
Edited by Dan Sandoval

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)  Region 5 office, based in Chicago, and the Metal Management Midwest Inc. business unit of Sims Metal Management (SMM) have entered into a consent agreement and final order (CAFO) addressing alleged violations of certain air regulations at an SMM shredding and recycling facility in Chicago.

According to the consent agreement, EPA states that it conducted an off-site surveillance of SMM’s Chicago site on Sept. 7, 2016, and observed fugitive particulate matter emitted from the auto shredder that crossed the property line.

Following that, the EPA conducted a follow-up inspection on Dec. 2, 2016. During that inspection, EPA says it observed and recorded hydrocarbons existing at the hammermill shredder, using an infrared camera. The EPA says it again observed fugitive particulate matter emitted from the equipment at the second inspection.

Following the two inspections, the EPA issued an information request to Sims Metal Management regarding the facility. A March 31, 2017, response provided by the company indicated the auto shredder has a maximum theoretical emissions rate of more than 100 tons per calendar year of volatile organic material (VOM). As a result, the CAFO states the shredder has the potential to emit 25 tons or more per year of VOM.

The CAFO provides that Metal Management will submit an application for a federally enforceable state operating permit for the shredder at the facility that will:

  • limit the quantity the end-of-life vehicles and other recyclable metallic material it will feed into and process in the metal shredder at the facility to 344,000 net tons per year;
  • limit the potential to emit VOM at the facility to less than 25 tons per year; and
  • incorporate an updated fugitive dust plan for the facility.

A civil penalty of $225,000 is assessed. A copy of the CAFO can be found on this web page.