The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection approved an air quality plan for LaFarge North American Inc. Whitehall Township, to use certain non-recyclable plastics as a fuel supplement in its cement kilns. DEP issued the plan approval following a two-year review process that included a test burn and sampling regimen that the department developed and monitored to obtain data to determine whether emissions met all air quality regulations.
“The entire testing and monitoring process was carefully controlled to ensure there was no threat to public health or the environment,” DEP Northeast Regional Director Michael Bedrin said. LaFarge had to test for many organic and inorganic chemicals, including dioxin, furans and products of incomplete combustion. The company also had to conduct a specially designed health-based risk assessment, using DEP’s approved models and protocols, on emissions found during the test burn to ensure the use of these plastics are safe for residents and the environment.
During review of the application, DEP’s recycling experts reviewed the use of the specific recyclable material as a fuel and found there is no secondary market for these plastic, confirming the company’s assertion that these materials normally are disposed of in landfills.
In addition to these preliminary assessments, the plan approval also requires additional fuel sampling, annual stack emissions testing and the use of continuous emission monitors to ensure air quality.