The MAT Asphalt plant rests about a city block south of its entrance at 2033 W. Pershing Road, Chicago.

MAT Asphalt Issues Emissions Testing Results

Published January 21, 2022

MAT Asphalt, an asphalt plant at 2033 W. Pershing Road in Chicago’s McKinley Park neighborhood, has issued results from emissions testing in 2021 showing that the plant is operating far below federal pollution limits.

 
Show your pride and support local news with McKinley Park shirts and apparel

The tests, conducted last year by contractor CleanAir Engineering and monitored by Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials, showed the facility’s Hazardous Air Pollutant (HAP) levels to be less than 5 percent of the total allowed, a release from MAT Asphalt stated.

 
Business Grows Here - Space - Resources - Community

The tests were conducted at MAT Asphalt on July 27 and 28, and October 21, 2021, while the plant was running at 100 percent capacity to measure maximum possible emissions.

“Our state-of-the-art facility is one of the most environmentally friendly asphalt plants in the nation,” said MAT Asphalt co-owner Michael Tadin Jr. “This study confirms the assurances that we have been giving our neighbors and the entire McKinley Park community since we began operating in 2018.”

Bag House Emissions

As previously reported here in the McKinley Park News, the tests measured emissions from the smoke stack of the bag house for the facility, which acts as a large filter for catching emissions. All tests followed standard, EPA-defined processes, which are listed online at www.epa.gov/emc.

MAT Asphalt’s emissions of particulate matter, a critical metric of hazardous pollution, are 0.24 pounds per hour, which is 0.8 percent of of the allowable limit as set by the EPA, the release stated.

 
Business Grows Here - Space - Resources - Community

Specific substances tested included 10-micron-wide particulate matter (PM10), sulfur dioxide (SO2), volatile organic materials (VOM), and single hazardous air pollutant (HAP) levels. Among the metals that comprise the particulate matter are mercury, beryllium, chromium, manganese, nickel and zinc, the release from MAT Asphalt said.

Pollution from diesel trucks transporting asphalt or other emissions related to the business were not part of the testing and study.

MAT Asphalt 2021 Emissions Testing Results

Pollutant Type Limit (pounds per hour) Test Results (pounds per hour) Percent of Limit
Particulate Matter (PM) 30.59 0.24 0.8 percent
10-micron Particulate Matter (PM10) 9.18 0.07 0.8 percent
Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) 4.4 0.54 12.3 percent
Volatile Organic Materials (VOM) 8 0.584 7.3 percent
Single Hazardous Air Pollutant (HAP) 2.28 0.18 7.9 percent
Total Hazardous Air Pollutants 5.71 0.27 4.8 percent

Results from 2021 emissions testing as provided by MAT Asphalt shows types of pollution, the federally mandated maximum limit, the measured test results and the percent of MAT Asphalt's emissions as compared to the maximum limit.

Professor Michael Cailas of the School of Public Health at the University of Illinois – Chicago (UIC), noted how the testing took place in the context of a 2020 Memorandum of Understanding between the school and the IEPA to assess the local impact of asphalt plants.

Asphalt Plant Study Area

“Everywhere around here, you have a real high concentration of asphalt plants,” he said.

Cailas added that the memorandum established a study area for asphalt plants bound by the Eisenhower Expressway (I-290) on the north, the Dan Ryan Expressway (I-90/94) on the east, West 67th Street on the South, and South Cicero Avenue on the West.

 
Show your pride and support local news with McKinley Park shirts and apparel.

Additional asphalt plants tested in the program include Reliable Ogden LLC Laflin at 2424 S. Laflin St., Chicago, and Reliable Asphalt at 3741 S. Pulaski Road, Chicago, sources said.

Cumulative Burden

A photo of emissions testing atop the smokestack at MAT Asphalt accompanied the August 29, 2021, article Emissions Testing, Tracking Targets MAT Asphalt, Neighborhood Air Quality.A photo of emissions testing atop the smokestack at MAT Asphalt accompanied the August 29, 2021, article "Emissions Testing, Tracking Targets MAT Asphalt, Neighborhood Air Quality."However, no results have been released from these tests by either the company’s operators, or the IEPA. The IEPA has also not yet issued its own results or information on the the MAT Asphalt testing.

Cailas, who is involved in authoring and assessing results from the Memorandum of Understanding through his role at UIC, said the focus should be on the cumulative burdens of pollution due to the high concentrations of local industry.

“What I’m asking in the [memorandum] is to do a comparative study,” he said. “It’s not fair to put one producer by himself or herself.”

 
Business Grows Here - Space - Resources - Community

The cumulative pollution from the seven-plus asphalt plants concentrated in the study area should receive priority, he said. “It’s not a matter of passing a threshold. All of them [asphalt plants] operate under the threshold.”

Coming Public Hearing

MAT Asphalt’s testing results precede an anticipated public hearing — long delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic — related to issuing MAT Asphalt a 10-year operating permit. The facility has been granted license by the IEPA to continue operating on its temporary permit until the issue of the long-term license is resolved.

“We hope to hear soon from the IEPA about our operating permit,” said Joe Haughey, general manager of the MAT Asphalt plant. “This testing was a major step towards that permit.”

 
Show your pride and support local news with McKinley Park shirts and apparel.

Frequent Protests

As previously reported here in the McKinley Park News, the MAT Asphalt plant has been the site of frequent protests by local elected officials, political candidates and neighborhood advocacy groups.

Also as previously reported here in the McKinley Park News, a group of elected officials sent a letter to Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul in summer 2021 requesting oversight on MAT Asphalt due to more than 100 odor complaints filed with the IEPA.

Neither the elected officials nor Raoul have yet issued more information on the letter or resulting actions.

Ed. Note: MAT Asphalt is a Sponsor of the McKinley Park News. For information about our operations and policies, see our About Us page and the Letter from the Editor "Building a Trustworthy News Business."

Ed. Note: Justin Kerr contributed to reporting for this story.


Log In to comment on this item.
 
Business Grows Here - Space - Resources - Community