Mayor: Tests Show No Sustained Air Quality Problems After Little Village Demolition

Maclovio Smokestack Dust
A cloud of dust rises after the demolition of a smokestack in the Little Village community. Maclovio / instagram.com/macnifying_glass
Maclovio Smokestack Dust
A cloud of dust rises after the demolition of a smokestack in the Little Village community. Maclovio / instagram.com/macnifying_glass

Mayor: Tests Show No Sustained Air Quality Problems After Little Village Demolition

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced on Sunday that initial air and dust samples back from a laboratory show no asbestos or sustained air quality issues following the botched demolition of a smokestack near the Little Village community.

Community activists have criticized the city for permitting the implosion during the pandemic.

Despite the fact the asbestos/air quality tests came back fine, Lightfoot called the demolition “dangerous” and “unacceptable” and said the dust cloud that blanketed the community last Saturday morning “is utterly and entirely the fault and responsibility of the developer and those subs.” Lightfoot said 16 citations issued by the city so far could total $68,000 in fines. She announced the city is reviewing the license for the demolition contractor and will rethink its permitting process for implosions, which are rare.

Results from other pollution tests are still pending; some of results were from samples taken 12 hours or more after the demolition.

The city’s announcements are “too little too late,” said Kim Wasserman, executive director of the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization, which battled to shut down the former coal plant on the site.

The city has started a web site for residents to get information, including further environmental testing results.

Linda Lutton covers Chicago neighborhoods for WBEZ. Follow her @lindalutton. Photos courtesy of Maclovio. You can see more of his pictures on Instagram.