News Release
January 10, 2014

City of Chicago Hosts Public Hearing As Part of Ongoing Efforts to Protect Residents From Petcoke

Event to Seek Community Feedback on Proposed Regulations for Handling and Storage of Bulk Materials

CHICAGO - Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced today the Chicago Department of Public Health and Alderman John A. Pope (10th Ward) will host a special public hearing on the evening of Monday, January 13 to solicit feedback from residents on a proposed set of regulations to improve air quality by imposing tough new requirements on facilities on Chicago’s Southeast Side that store bulk solid materials like petroleum coke (petcoke). The proposal requires bulk material storage facilities limit the heights of materials piles and requires operators to enclose materials to further limit exposure to dust from materials. 

“Chicago’s children and families across the City have the right to the same quality of life,” said Mayor Emanuel. “The petroleum coke facilities must clean up or shut down to ensure everyone in the City of Chicago is protected from the potential hazards of these materials. This public hearing will allow residents to add their voice on the proposed regulations which will protect our communities.”

The public hearing will take place at St. Simeon Serbian Church (3737 E. 114th Street) from 6:00-8:00pm on January 13th. The draft regulations are posted for public comment until January 24 and can be viewed HERE. Comments can also be submitted online at

Media wishing to attend, can contact Brian Richardson at for additional details.

“This proposal will allow our residents to host backyard barbeques and keep their windows open without fear of petcoke dust invading,” said Ald. Pope. “This hearing is our opportunity to get feedback directly from the families in our community who are impacted most by this ongoing problem.”

Specifically, the proposed regulations will require large bulk material storage facilities to fully enclose solid materials such as coal, pig iron, metallurgical coke (metcoke) and petcoke, while facilities with smaller storage capacity and smaller deliveries would be required to install wind barriers as protective measures and adopt other best management practices.

“By ensuring our facilities follow the proper regulations, we are safeguarding the air for our children and our families,” said Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Bechara Choucair, M.D. “We look forward to hearing from community members Monday night.”

Petcoke is the solid by-product of petroleum refining which generally contains high concentrations of carbon and sulfur, and also may include trace elements of metals such as vanadium, nickel, chromium and lead. Metcoke is produced by subjecting bituminous coal to extremely high temperatures to produce a harder fuel used in the iron and steel industries. Inhaling petcoke, metcoke, and other bulk solid materials can contribute to serious respiratory health problems, particularly for individuals who suffer from heart and lung disease and asthma.