Portage Board of Zoning Appeals Approves Lead Casting Plant
At the November meeting of the Portage Board of Zoning Appeals several variances were granted by the city to PlumBum Casting of Illinois to build a lead casting plant on the southwest side of the city near County Line Road. The exact location will be behind the El Pueblo Mexican Restaurant at 5350 US 6. At the Board of Zoning Appeals meeting Michael with the NWI Green Party was the only person to speak against the granting of the variances and one of the concerns he raised was the effects that the 3-building facility would have on air quality in the area since they will be processing lead. Unfortunately, it was apparent that the city wasn’t interested in addressing the potential health and safety concerns of placing a lead casting facility next to residential neighborhoods and adjacent to the Countryside Park sledding hill where many of the region's children play.
The placement of a manufacturing facility casting lead in the mist of residential, commercial and recreational is not good for NWI. The company will receive lead from a recycler, heat it to 800 degrees and make lead fishing weights - a product that is banned in several states including New York, Washington, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts as well as Yellowstone National Park and two dozen National Wildlife refuges. With the additional concerns to adjacent properties that are on wells as well as the potential addition of lead to Portage's stormwater system, there are no good reasons for allowing this facility to be built. The communities around the business park have been mobilized with calls to the mayor and members of the city council. The issue was raised at the December common council meeting. If you live in Portage or near the area of County Line Road and US 6, please consider contacting Mayor Sue Lynch of Portage and ask her to stop this harmful development.