Calumet River Pollution Gets Emanuel’s Reaction
November 18, 2013 — Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says he has ordered the City’s Health Department to adopt regulations for the storage and handling of petroleum coke.
Residents on the city’s far southeast side complain about dust from huge piles of the powdery black substance stored along the Calumet River.
Emanuel says the piles are a health and environmental hazard and wants them at least partially enclosed.
Petroleum coke, or “petcoke,” is a byproduct of oil refining. It’s produced when residue left over from making gasoline and diesel is “cooked” into a solid fuel that can be burned in power plants and cement kilns.
Petcoke production is up sharply in the Chicago area as refineries process more tar sands oil from Canada.
Other companies store petcoke until it can be loaded onto ships and exported.