A former petcoke storage site near the Calumet River on Chicago's Southeast Side (Terry Evans / Courtesy of Museum of Contemporary Photography)

Proposed legislation would require the federal government to examine potential health risks from exposure to petroleum coke, a solid byproduct of the oil refining process that had for years been stored in uncontained piles on the Southeast Side. 

Peggy Salazar, director of the Southeast Environmental Task Force, works in the group's Hegewisch office in March. (Alex Ruppenthal / Chicago Tonight)

A community group has drawn up a plan to guide redevelopment of a heavily industrialized area in Chicago.

A company under pressure from the EPA over potentially harmful emissions of manganese dust has met the agency’s March 1 deadline for installing air monitors at its Chicago facility.

Part 3 of our series examining pollution on Chicago’s Far Southeast Side

A group of Southeast Side residents and activists met Tuesday night to formulate a plan for confronting the latest threat of pollution in one of Chicago’s most industrialized areas.

Part 2 of our series examining pollution on Chicago’s Far Southeast Side

The carefully documented history of manganese emissions in a small Ohio city serves as a warning for those concerned about newly discovered manganese concentrations on Chicago’s Far Southeast Side.

S.H. Bell Co., a company linked to potential manganese pollution on Chicago’s Far Southeast Side, said Thursday it is not the sole emitter of manganese dust in the area. 

(Alex Ruppenthal / Chicago Tonight)

Part 1 of our series examining pollution on Chicago’s Far Southeast Side

For decades, residents on Chicago’s Far Southeast Side lived with clouds of black dust from nearby industrial sites. Now, the community faces a more dangerous pollutant: manganese. 

Petcoke piles with sprinklers at KCBX site on Calumet River, 2014. (Terry Evans / Courtesy of Museum of Contemporary Photography)

For years, petroleum coke – the black, powdery byproduct of tar sands oil refineries – plagued the Southeast Chicago area along the Calumet River. Community and environmental activists protested and eventually influenced legislation regulating how the dusty byproduct is stored locally.


Petcoke & Crime Stats

We share what you had to say about the continuing petcoke problem on Chicago's southeast side and Police Supt. Garry McCarthy's latest crime statistics in tonight's viewer feedback.

KCBX reduces its petcoke piles by half and says new air monitors show that petcoke dust does not leave its facility. But the EPA cites the company for two violations of national air quality standards.

The Chicago City Council passed an ordinance regulating petcoke today. Petcoke is a coal-like substance, a byproduct of refining oil. The new ordinance does put new restrictions on the handling of petcoke, but the community says it's far from enough protection for the neighborhood. Elizabeth Brackett has the story.

Gov. Pat Quinn asks for emergency action to protect Illinois residents from petcoke. Elizabeth Brackett reports.

Community protest brings results as one company removes its petcoke from a Calumet River storage site. But thousands of tons remain on other sites. Elizabeth Brackett has the story.

A huge lake freighter pulls up to storage facility along the Calumet River, poised to haul away piles of the controversial petroleum byproduct called "petcoke."  Elizabeth Brackett has the latest details.

The steel mills may be gone, but the south side is again under threat from a growing source of air and water pollution. It's referred to a "petcoke," and is a byproduct of refining heavy tar sands oil. We share what you had to say about it in tonight’s viewer feedback.