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Residents raise concerns about planned Illinois asphalt plant

During a recent meeting of the Planning and Zoning Commission of Lake in the Hills, Illinois, several residents of the nearby town of Cary voiced their concern about a proposed asphalt plant. Specifically, the residents are worried that the act of grinding asphalt shingles and turning them into material for road resurfacing would cause asbestos dust to be released into the air. However, the commission apparently did not believe those concerns were valid, issuing its recommendation that the plant be built.

The proposal for the asphalt shingle recycling facility was made by a city manager and a company called Bluff City Materials Inc., according to a report in the Northwest Herald. The plant would receive shipments of shingles from single-family homes and process them into asphalt, which would then be used to resurface roads.

While the environmental aspect of such an initiative is certainly a noble goal, many who live nearby are concerned that the act of processing the shingles could result in asbestos being released into the air. During the commission meeting, residents asked that the village have independent investigators look into the issue, instead of relying on the word of the company.

Bluff City Materials claims that the plant would not create any danger for nearby residents. Roofing contractors are trained on spotting and removing shingles that contain asbestos, said a spokesman, and that all of the shingles are ground in an enclosed chamber. They are also sprayed with water to keep the dust to a minimum, he said.

The decision now goes to the village board. It remains to be seen whether they will take the residents' concerns about asbestos exposure and mesothelioma into consideration.

Source: Northwest Herald, "LITH asphalt shingle plant a step closer," Joseph Bustos, Dec. 13, 2011

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