Ash Grove Cement Company has agreed to pay a $2.5 million penalty and invest approximately $30 million in pollution control technology at its nine Portland cement manufacturing plants to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Air Act, announced the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Justice.
In addition, Ash Grove has agreed to spend $750,000 to mitigate the effects of past excess emissions from several of its facilities. The settlement requires Ash Grove to meet stringent emission limits and install and continuously operate modern technology to reduce NOx, SO2, and particulate matter (PM). Ash Grove is required to reduce NOx emissions at nine kilns, some of which will have the lowest emission limits of any retrofit control system in the country. In addition, modern pollution controls must be installed on every kiln to reduce PM emissions, and on several kilns to reduce SO2 emissions. In addition, at its Texas facility, Ash Grove will shut down two older, inefficient kilns, while a third will be replaced with a cleaner, newly reconstructed kiln. Ash Grove will also spend $750,000 on a project to replace old diesel truck engines at its facilities in Kansas, Arkansas, and Texas, which are estimated to reduce smog-forming nitrogen oxides by approximately 27 tons per year.
The settlement is part of EPA’s national enforcement initiative to control harmful air pollution from the largest sources of emissions, including portland cement manufacturing facilities. This is also the first settlement with a cement manufacturer that requires injunctive relief and emission limits for PM. SO2 and NOx, two key pollutants emitted from cement plants, can harm human health and are significant contributors to acid rain, smog, and haze. These pollutants are converted in the air into fine particles of particulate matter that can cause severe respiratory and cardiovascular impacts, and premature death.
Eight states and one local agency have joined the United States in the settlement, including: Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency.
The settlement was lodged today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas and is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval. It will be available for viewing at www.justice.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees.html .
More information about this settlement: www.epa.gov/enforcement/air/cases/ashgrove.html
More about EPA’s National Enforcement Initiatives: http://www.epa.gov/compliance/data/planning/initiatives/index.html