Bryan Cohen Nov. 5, 2013, 7:25pm

CHICAGO (Legal Newsline) - Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed a lawsuit Monday against the operator of a Chicago coal and petroleum coke bulk loading facility for allegedly causing air pollution along the Calumet River.

KCBX Terminals Company allegedly failed to maintain growing piles of petroleum coke and coal, causing clouds of black dust to move into nearby residential areas on Chicago's southeast side.

"The piles of refinery waste at this site are growing by the day without the appropriate protections to ensure nearby residents' health and safety," Madigan said. "It's critical that KCBX quickly installs safeguards to protect the surrounding community."

Petroleum coke is the solid by-product of petroleum refining. It typically contains high concentrations of sulfur and carbon, along with trace elements of metals such as lead, chromium, nickel and vanadium. Pet coke can be used to fire cement kilns and coal-fired power plants. The inhalation of pet coke can worsen respiratory health problems, particularly for individuals suffering from asthma, lung disease and heart disease.

KCBX's facility manages piles of coal and petroleum coke produced by a BP facility in Whiting, Ind. BP is expected to finish a project this year that will triple the amount of pet coke produced and increase deliveries to the KCBX site.

Madigan's lawsuit alleges air pollution violations and a failure to update and maintain an operations plan for properly containing dust from the refinery waste. The suit seeks the statutory maximum civil penalty.

More News