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News Releases from HeadquartersEnforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA)

EPA Settlement with American Zinc Recycling to Reduce Air Pollution in Chicago

Company will upgrade air pollution controls at South Side facility

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WASHINGTON (April 29, 2020) — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a settlement with American Zinc Recyling for alleged violations of the Clean Air Act from its zinc metal refining facility in Chicago.

“This settlement is a good example of how EPA through our National Compliance Initiative is bringing cleaner air to communities across the country,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Susan Bodine.  “This settlement will improve air quality for residents of Chicago by reducing emissions of particulate matter by approximately 164 tons a year.”

“American Zinc Recycling has agreed to improve its operations to address these issues and to reduce air pollution,” said EPA Region 5 Administrator Kurt Thiede. “EPA is committed to improving air quality throughout Chicago, especially in areas that are already overburdened by pollution.”

American Zinc Recycling, at 2701 E 114th St. in Chicago, recycles metal-bearing wastes from steel production to reclaim zinc and other metals. EPA observed particulate emissions and fugitive dust from American Zinc Recycling’s operations during inspections of the facility in alleged violation of particulate matter limits in the Illinois’ State Implementation Plan, the Clean Air Act and American Zinc Recycling’s Title V permit issued by the State of Illinois. The facility is located on the Calumet River in the Southeast Side of Chicago, where the federal, state, and local government have worked with community groups to reduce pollution from other facilities.

Under the terms of the settlement, American Zinc Recycling will invest approximately $8 million to bring the facility back into compliance with its emissions limits, with improved capture and collection systems for particulate matter and dust. The company will also pay a $530,000 penalty.

Particulate matter is defined as a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets found in the air. Breathing air with high levels of particulate matter has been linked to heart and respiratory problems. Reducing particulate matter means cleaner, healthier air for all Chicagoans.

The settlement terms are included in a proposed consent decree that U.S. Department of Justice filed today. The proposed consent decree is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval. To view the government’s complaint and the consent decree, go to

Information about EPA Region 5's air enforcement program is at

The American Zinc Recycling facility is located within an Opportunity Zone. Learn more about EPA’s work with Opportunity Zones here.

Information about EPA’s National Compliance Initiative: Creating Cleaner for Communities by Reducing Excess Emissions of Harmful pollutants

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Potential environmental violations may be reported at