Thursday, April 22, 2010

Flyash

I moved to Pilsen, Chicago on January 11th, 2009. I stayed at Hoyne and 21st St. for six months before moving down the street where I still live. In this new apartment I stayed with two friends. We spent the summer stealing chicken fingers, not working, drinking, and not showering while riding our bikes every day. So when it came to AC (money), we had none, we just kept all of the windows open at all times. And when it came to cleaning (responsibility), we did little. But I always found the energy to sweep so our feet didn't get dirty walking around (pet peeve). The entire summer I was sweeping every day with seemingly no progress. There was just more and more dirt and I could not figure out the solution. We started taking off our shoes, I began to mop, but it would come back.

Later in 2009 I was informed by friends about the soil quality in Pilsen and they told me that the plant the entire neighborhood can see billowing smoke at all times was The Fisk, a coal burning plant that supplies electricity for the surrounding area. I learned that the soil is so damaged with chemicals from that coal factory's fallout, or flyash, (the solid particles that fall from the waste passing into the air from the smoke stacks) that it's not safe to ever grow plants or vegetables.

At that point, I pieced it together. That incurable dirt in our house this past summer was the flyash from the coal factory lining the floor of our house every day through our open windows. Every single day there was literally black dust of mentionable accumulation every day in the broom pan.

"Older coal-fired power plants without effective fly ash capture are one of the largest sources of human-caused background radiation exposure. When coal is burned, uranium, thorium and all the uranium daughters accumulated by disintegration — radium, radon, polonium — are released." (s)



The Fisk

7 comments:

Sean said...

now all of your friends, from fear of radiation and deadly ash, will never come to visit again!

MFU said...

With the warm weather we have started keeping our windows open. I usually have a glass of water by my bed. If I leave it there for more than a day it gets a layer of dust on it. Now I know what it is.

Amy Pagel said...

YIKES!!!

michelle kathleen said...

the reason i didn't move to pilsen...

Pete Halupka said...

It doesn't happen solely in Pilsen, Michelle. Much to my surprise there is industry in Lincoln Park, a steel factory, that does nearly the same thing for their air. I didn't suspect that would be the case for a higher income area.

michelle kathleen said...

oh i know (though i didn't know there was one in lincoln park)--i just can't believe those things still exist at all. thanks for more info.. i'm glad you're writing about it.

Steven Vance said...

The same thing is happening in Little Village with the Crawford coal power plant.

UIC performed a study. I wrote about this a year ago: http://www.stevevance.net/planning/2009/03/pilsen-pollution/