A permit renewal that outlines all federal regulations for the Lehigh Cement Plant’s operation is on hold as regulatory officials wait to add tough new federal emission standards to the voluminous operating permit.
Lehigh will continue to operate but will have to wait until the summer renewal of its Title V permit, which details the approximately 1,500 source-specific air pollution limits and standards, according to Brian Bateman, director of engineering with Bay Area Air Quality Management District.
The permit lists all such requirements and the monitoring, record keeping and reporting steps the facility must take and it must be renewed every five years. New emission standards from the Environmental Protection Agency will set the nation’s first limits on mercury emissions from existing kilns and new kilns. Emission limits for hydrocarbons, particulate matter, and sulfur dioxide will also be set.
"We are putting on hold our Title V efforts in regards with this facility. We are doing this because of the development of EPA’s applicable standards. We think it makes a lot of sense to have that process move forward. When those standards are finalized, we will incorporate them" into the new permit, Jack Broadbent, CEO of the BAAQMD, said at a special Cupertino City Council session Tuesday regarding the Lehigh plant.
"We are going through a renewal process. It would not make sense to go through yet another renewal process."
The new mercury emission rules will be announced in June. The facility will then plan to deal with the new rules and incorporate those efforts into the renewed permit. The strict new standards will take effect in 2013 and are expected to reduce mercury emissions by 81 percent to 93 percent and hydrochloric acid by 94 percent, said to Shaheerah Kelly, an environmental engineer with the EPA.