Asbestos concerns slow concrete recycling request
By Cindy Wojdyla Cain email@example.com November 13, 2012 7:22PM
Updated: December 15, 2012 6:23AM
JOLIET — Boughton Materials wants to add a concrete crushing and recycling unit to its limestone quarry in Wheatland Township, but neighbors who live near the site fear a toxic dust will float over their homes.
They also have concerns about water runoff from stored concrete contaminating the adjacent DuPage River and increased truck traffic mixing with teen drivers from Plainfield East High School.
Company Vice President Frank Maly said concrete recycling will be a miniscule part of the business, which is located at 22750 W. Hassert Blvd. The company will take precautions to prevent environmental issues for nearby residential areas and truck traffic would only increase by five to 10 trucks a day, he added.
Residents of nearby subdivisions, which have grown through the years, disagreed. They objected to Boughton Materials’ request for a zoning change from agricultural to industrial and special use permit for the concrete recycling facility during Tuesday’s Will County Board Land Use Committee meeting. Because the quarry is unincorporated, the county board decides the site’s zoning issues.
At the end of a lengthy discussion on the project, committee members agreed to give both sides more time to reach a compromise.
“It doesn’t sound like you have a lot of support here,” committee Chairman Tom Weigel, R-New Lenox, said to Maly.
The county’s planning and zoning commission voted against the zoning requests, but the commission’s vote is advisory.
Boughton Materials attorney Scott Pointer said the company is open to a set of conditions that would mitigate residents’ concerns including a requirement to take only non-demolition concrete that would, in theory, contain fewer contaminants.
“We don’t want the neighbors to feel we’re trying to ram this down their throats,” he said.
The biggest bone of contention centers on the amount of asbestos that might be in concrete sent to the proposed recycling site.
Dean Olson, the county’s Waste Services director, and Maly both said the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency had no concerns about asbestos in concrete.
But project opponent Eugene Geekie Jr., who lives near the site, said the IEPA had “dropped the ball” on the issue. Committee members Brian Smith, R-Plainfield, and Debbie Rozak, R-Wilmington, agreed.
“Well, if they don’t test for it, how do they know it’s not an issue,” Rozak said. “That doesn’t make sense to me.”