The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency is sponsoring an open house today regarding a facility approved by local officials months ago that would accept and recycle construction and demolition debris.
Though accepted this past April by the Round Lake Park village board, the informational session scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. at Park School, 400 W. Townline Road in Round Lake, was prompted by inquiries by state Rep. Sandy Cole, who noted that a public hearing is not required. A permit from the state agency is required, with a decision expected by Dec. 28.
Cole contends many people may be unaware of what is coming or what it may mean in terms of truck traffic, noise, dust or other issues, for example.
"If something is classified as recycling, it doesn't require a public hearing," she said. "How are people supposed to know?"
The village in the spring approved an agreement with Groot Industries Inc. to build and operate the facility near its existing yard and natural gas fueling station at 200 S. Porter Drive, between routes 120 and 134.
Cole said she sent about 3,500 letters to residents in the Bright Meadows, Madrona Village and Bradford Place subdivisions within a mile of the proposed location.
IEPA and company representatives will be available to discuss technical issues, but zoning matters won't be addressed, as they are under local control. A form for written comments also will be provided.
Known as the Groot Industries Eco-Campus, the facility would be on about 14 acres of what historically has been farm land, according to the IEPA. The operation would be in an enclosed building and would receive and process up to 500 tons of general construction and demolition debris per day. At least 75 percent of the materials would have to be recycled and reused, according to the IEPA.
Written comments will be accepted until Nov. 30.
Recycling this type of waste is recommended by the Solid Waste Agency of Lake County -- as long as they follow local zoning ordinances, enter into a host agreement and are properly permitted -- as a way to prolong the life of landfills and boost recycling.
Materials from "roll off" containers situated at construction sites, such as wood or asphalt shingles, are common examples of what would be brought to the facility, according to Walter Willis, executive director of SWALCO.
"They won't be taking large chunks of concrete for road building. That's not the intent of these facilities," he said.
Round Lake Park Mayor Jean McCue said the host agreement with Groot addresses issues such as noise and dust.
"I don't see it as a detriment to the community, or I wouldn't have thought of approving it," said McCue, whose business is nearby. "I'm not going to ruin my life or residents' lives."
Under the host agreement with Groot, the village would receive 75 cents per ton on 75 percent of the weight of materials brought to the facility, she said.