Chocolate stinks


This citizen complaint would have been lodged by us, if we even knew how to do such a thing. Don't get me wrong - chocolate is a good friend of mine (even though D can't stand it), but having the smell rammed down my nostrils every second of every day is not pleasant. In fact, I've begun to despise the odor.

Blommer pumping too much chocolate into air: EPA
Smells emanating from Blommer Chocolate Co.’s downtown Chicago factory at 600 W. Kinzie St. have enticed [annoyed] rush-hour commuters for more than six decades, but now the company has been cited by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for unlawful emissions of dust from its cocoa bean grinders.

A notice of violation says that an EPA inspector, responding to a citizen complaint, conducted tests in early September that found the plant was exceeding limits for the amount of light obscured by the plant’s emissions.

Blommer, which claims to be the largest cocoa bean processor in North America, makes bulk cocoa and chocolate products for other candy manufacturers.

According to the EPA notice, the plant’s emissions were substantial enough to reduce visibility at the exhaust duct by more than the 30% allowed by law. The EPA notes that “inhaling high concentrations of particulates can affect children, the elderly and people with heart and lung diseases the most.”

Clean air laws allow emissions to be more concentrated for short periods, but Blommer exceeded that standard as well, according to the EPA notice. Emissions may briefly exceed a 30% opacity limit for up to eight minutes within a one-hour period, up to a maximum of 60%.

The inspector’s report says Blommer’s emissions obscured visible light by 32.1% to 49.4% for 24 minutes during a total of 42 minutes of observation on the mornings of September 1 and 2. The Chicago plant has 11 grinders
...In 1993, Blommer paid a civil penalty of $20,000 and agreed to a cease-and-desist order after the state of Illinois alleged the company violated state clean-air laws, according to an Illinois Pollution Control Board order.

As a parenthetical note: D met with Burt Natarus, our Alderman, a couple of years ago, and the first thing out of his mouth was, “If you are here to complain about Blommer's, don't even bother”, or words to that effect. The funny thing is, she was only there to discuss the Haymarket Riot statue (more Haymarket photos here). Unless Natarus has been tapping our phones, he wouldn't know how much we have prayed for Blommers to 'turn condo', or something similar.

Natarus as a Witch

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I love the smell of Blommer's, but I always wondered if I'd get sick of it if I lived nearby. I guess now I know.

I worked in the area for seven years. I worked literally within that block. Believe it or not, I developed asthma during that time, which I didn't have before I worked there. It never occurred to me it might be the chocolate. I just thought it was from age or something. The chocolate smell might actually be harmful for people that are there everyday breathing in the fumes!

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This page contains a single entry by Seth A. published on November 3, 2005 5:01 PM.

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