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Activist Claims Little Village Factory Pollution Still An Issue

By Chloe Riley | January 16, 2014 11:39am
 Activist Raul Montes (r.) protests outside BWAY Corp. in Little Village.
Activist Raul Montes (r.) protests outside BWAY Corp. in Little Village.
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DNAinfo/Chloe Riley

LITTLE VILLAGE — A community activist is claiming a Little Village metals factory continues to pollute despite a government order to comply with environmental regulations.

Community organizer Raul Montes, who spoke outside the factory, BWAY Corp., on Wednesday, is threatening a class-action lawsuit unless the factory brings its health violations up to Illinois Environmental Protection Agency standards.

Montes alleges that BWAY, which manufactures metal, plastic and aerosol containers at 3200 S. Kilbourne Ave., has yet to correct pollution violations in an order from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency in September.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency was unable to confirm whether BWAY was out of compliance.

A BWAY Corp. spokesperson did not return repeated calls for comment.

Montes, an activist who also works as a Chicago Public Schools substitute teacher, said, “There’s kids here at stake.”

“If this continues, it could just get worse for people. [BWAY’s] not coming through on their end,” he said.

The EPA order — which calls BWAY a major source of emissions — alleges the company violated regulations designed to control emissions of volatile organic compounds and hazardous air pollutants at various times over the last several years.

The order also states there were days from May 2010 through February 2012 when BWAY failed to monitor emissions at all.

BWAY had 30 days from Sept. 13 to become compliant, according to that order, which is signed by Kevin McNair, BWAY's executive vice president of operations.

According to Montes, if BWAY does not take steps to become compliant, he and several other residents will file a class-action lawsuit for heath damages against the company.