S.H. Bell’s Dust Management Plan Approved in Chicago
The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) in late December accepted S.H. Bell’s revised fugitive dust plan, which details how the company is working to minimize dust from manganese products and other materials. “S.H. Bell is committed to ensuring a safe and healthy environment for the community and our employees,” the company said in a statement. “We worked closely with the city to develop our recently approved dust control plan that goes above and beyond local, state and federal regulations. The city of Chicago has among the strongest bulk material handling regulations in the nation, and we believe that all facilities in the region should also be in compliance.”
Late last year, CDPH announced it was conducting a wide-ranging survey of all sources of manganese on the city’s heavily industrialized Southeast Side, and that it would likely start requiring additional companies handling manganese to also install air monitors.
Also at the end of December, S.H. Bell reported to regulators that manganese levels measured by the company’s Chicago air monitors were well below the minimal risk level used by EPA. It was the fifth consecutive month that average manganese levels at Bell’s Calumet River facility were below the minimal risk benchmark. Despite media reports that mischaracterized the situation as an imminent health threat, public health experts have determined that only long-term exposure, at least over a year, to levels continuously above the minimal risk level can be a potential safety concern.
Recently, Bell has invested more than $2 million in enhanced dust suppression and collection equipment at its Calumet River facility.