Chicago Tribune

Despite repeated complaints about metallic odors drifting into surrounding neighborhoods, city health inspectors only cited General Iron Industries once during former Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s eight years in office.

The same city department ticketed the North Side scrap yard five times during the past two months — the latest signs that General Iron’s once-formidable clout at City Hall is slipping away as Mayor Lori Lightfoot reviews policy and enforcement decisions made by her predecessor.

On four days in December and another last month, a health inspector cataloged the same problems that neighbors have been emailing and calling city officials about for years.

Previous inspections largely absolved General Iron of any wrongdoing. But during all five of the recent visits, a health inspector said she observed “untreated emissions” escaping the company’s pair of massive scrap shredders along the Chicago River near Clybourn Avenue and Cortland Street.

The inspector described smelling “the pungent odor of sweet metal that burns my nostrils.” She also said she found residue from the scrap yard littering sidewalks outside General Iron, including shards of metal, glass and plastic that by law should be dumped in a landfill.

Each of the inspector’s reports suggested that recently installed pollution-control equipment required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is failing to properly control noxious emissions from the shredding of flattened cars, twisted rebar and used appliances.

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