The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that Essroc Cement Company has agreed to pay a US$1.7m penalty and invest approximately US$33m in pollution control technology to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Air Act (CAA) at six of its cement plants. The settlement will protect Americans’ health by reducing more than 7000tpa of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulphur sioxide (SO2) pollution each year. Essroc has also agreed to spend US$745,000 to mitigate the effects of past excess emssions from its facilities.
"EPA is committed to cutting illegal air pollution from the largest sources of emissions," said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. "The pollution controls required by today’s settlement will reduce harmful air pollutants, protecting communities across the nation."
"These comprehensive measures at multiple Essroc facilities will achieve substantial reductions in harmful air pollution and result in cleaner, healthier air for many people across the country," said Ignacia S. Moreno, assistant attorney general for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice. "This will bring Essroc into compliance with the nation’s Clean Air Act and marks significant progress in addressing the nation’s largest sources of air pollution, and protecting the most vulnerable among us, especially children and the elderly, from respiratory and other health problems."
Under the settlement, Essroc will install state of the art pollution control technology to control SO and NOx at five of its plants and demonstrate a selective catalytic reducttion system(SCR) at two long wet kilns in its Logansport, Ind,. plant. If successful, this will be the first SCRs used on long wet kilns anywhere in the world. Essroc will also permanently retire its sixth plant, located in Bessemer, Penn. This plant is currently out of operation and its permanent retirement will ensure that the facility does not restart without proper permitting under the CAA.
Reducing air pollution from cement plants is one of EPA’s National Enforcement Initiatives for 2011-2013.