Monthly Archives: June 2014

June 25th, 2014

MWRD Seeking Names for New Skimmer Boats

chicago river

Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) has announced a naming contest for its two new skimmer boats.  Name suggestions can be submitted to public.affairs@mwrd.org by September 15th.

These skimmer boats will operate along the North and South branches of the Chicago River to clean up floating debris from rainstorms.  MWRD currently operates two 28-foot skimming boats, which will continue to operate in addition to the new pontoons.

“The Chicago Area Waterways are a vital amenity for people in Cook County,” said Commissioner Debra Shore, chairman of the Public Information & Education Committee. “These new debris collection boats will improve water quality and the recreational experience for thousands of people canoeing, kayaking, boating, and enjoying the waterways.”

The winners of the naming contest will be invited to help christen the boats later in the fall.


June 18th, 2014

Illegal Asbestos Removal Leads to Jail Time and Major Financial Penalties

Property owners beware: if you have a building with any suspected asbestos-containing materials, be sure to have it properly tested and removed by a licensed firm, or you could face jail time and/or major financial penalties.

Suspected asbestos-containing materials

Suspected asbestos-containing materials

Last year, a building owner and its non-licensed contractor were found guilty of several felony counts for failure to properly remove asbestos insulation.

Michael Pinski pled guilty to violations of the Clean Air Act related to illegal and unsafe asbestos removal from a Kankakee building he owned. He was sentenced to 6 months in prison, followed by two years of supervised release including six months of home detention.

Pinski hired Origin Fire Protection to remove the asbestos-containing pipe insulation in the 5-story building he owned in Kankakee. Origin’s owner and operator, Duane “Butch” O’Malley subsequently arranged for James Mikrut to recruit and oversee workers to remove the asbestos. During O’Malley’s trial, evidence was presented that Origin Fire Protection was not trained to remove asbestos and that it agreed to do the work for substantially less money than a licensed abatement firm. Furthermore, after improperly removing the asbestos-containing
insulation, Mikrut and his crew dumped more than 100 trash bags in an open field in Hopskins Park, causing soil contamination.

O’Malley was sentenced to 10 years in prison after being found guilty of five felony counts. In addition, he was ordered to pay $47,086 in restitution for the cleanup of the asbestos materials by the EPA and a $15,000 fine. Mikrut pled guilty to five felony counts and was sentenced to 12 months plus one day in prison, followed by one year of supervised release under home detention.

Gabriel has licensed asbestos inspectors who can assist you with determining if asbestos exists and recommend licensed firms for the abatement process if it does. If you have any questions about asbestos, contact Steve Sawyer (ssawyer[at]gabenv.com or 773-486-2123) or Bill Gray (bgray[at]gabenv.com or 219-972-1110).

More information: www.justice.gov/usao/ilc/press/2013/01january/20130116.html

June 11th, 2014

Form A or Form R – Due July 1st

Form A or Form R (Toxic Chemical Release Inventory (TRI) reporting requirements) are due July 1st each year for all facilities that store or release toxic chemicals above reporting epa_logo2thresholds.

Facilities are required to report to the TRI Program if it meets ALL of these three threshold criteria:

  • The facility is included in a TRI-covered North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code (see the TRI NAICS code webpage or Table I of the current Reporting Forms and Instructions for a complete list); and
  • The facility has 10 or more full-time employee equivalents (i.e., a total of 20,000 hours or greater; see 40 CFR 372.3); and
  • The facility manufactures (defined to include importing), processes or otherwise uses any EPCRA Section 313 chemical in quantities greater than the established threshold in the course of a calendar year.

EPA’s TRI website has a Threshold Screening Tool to help you determine if your facility is required to report TRI data.

If you need assistance completing your Form A or Form R, or have questions about the TRI program, contact Brigid McHale at bmchale[at]gabenv.com or 773-486-2123.

June 4th, 2014

Kerry Wood Cubs Field Gets $2 Million Clean-up Grant

After Kerry Wood retired from the Chicago Cubs, he decided to open a state-of-the-art ballpark for Chicago Public League athletes and Chicago residents through his Wood Family Foundation. “Kerry Wood Cubs Field will be a special place for our community for years to come. Having been drafted out of high school, I know the importance of having a place to play. Keeping baseball alive in our city is something that is close to my heart. I’m excited for our kids to play under the lights and start their own dreams. Anything is possible,” Wood said.

Kerry Wood Field groundbreaking

Groundbreaking ceremony (Photography by Steve Green, Wood Family Foundation)

Unfortunately, the construction of the ballpark was halted abruptly in 2013 when contamination was discovered due to the site’s former use as a brickyard.  After nearly a year of environmental testing and liaison with the Illinois EPA (IEPA), the project is back on track thanks to Governor Quinn agreeing to fund $2 million in clean-up costs.

“This project is a great example of the work we do every day to improve Illinois communities by cleaning up contaminated sites to benefit residents and young people,” IEPA Director Lisa Bonnett said.

Kerry Wood Cubs Field will be built on a property located at 3457 N. Rockwell St. The state’s investment, through the IEPA, will fund the removal of contaminated soil, followed by site grading and leveling.
The Chicago Cubs, Chicago Cubs Charities, Wood Family Foundation, City of Chicago, Chicago Park District, Chicago Public Schools and Turner Construction will together contribute an additional $5 million to complete the stadium project.  When completed, Kerry Wood Cubs Field will have a capacity of 1,100 spectators.  It will be owned and operated by the Chicago Park District and be used by Chicago public high school teams, recreational leagues, and the general public.
Artist rendering of Kerry Wood Cubs Field

Artist rendering of Kerry Wood Cubs Field