Lehigh Cement has reached the settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency over emissions from two kilns, where tests in December 2003 found one kiln releasing 2.84 pounds of carbon monoxide per ton of product and the other releasing 2.92 pounds per ton and has agreed to pay a US$40,000 federal fine over carbon monoxide emissions at its Southern Indiana plant. Lehigh’s state operating permit allowed carbon monoxide emissions from each kiln of no more than 1.67 pounds per ton. When tests were repeated in May 2004, the carbon monoxide levels had decreased to about 1.3 pounds per ton.
The kilns at the plant about 30 miles south of Bloomington underwent a conversion during 2003 that increased cement production, said Tim Matz, corporate environmental manager at Lehigh’s Allentown, headquarters. "We showed the EPA it was not a violation of the Clean Air Act like they thought, and they agreed to that," he said. "But they still are fining us $40,000 for the time between the first and second tests when our emissions were not in compliance. We have agreed to that to resolve the issue."
The EPA could have assessed fines of up to $27,500 per day. Matz said that in changing the process of mixing and drying the ingredients, the plant’s emissions increased but that the company then took action to get them back in line.