Lehigh and Argos to Pay More Than $1.5m for Air Pollution Violations

SOURCE: USEPA | April 29, 2019

The US Environmental Protection AgencyEPA) says Lehigh Cement and Argos USA have settled alleged Clean Air Act violations at a portland cement facility in Martinsburg, West Virginia.

In an administrative consent agreement, Lehigh and Argos will pay a $1,505,309 penalty related to alleged violations of the plant’s Clean Air Act operating permit and federal restrictions on hazardous air pollutants from portland cement plants.

Argos is the plant owner since December 2016 and Lehigh is the successor to Essroc Cement, the prior plant owner.

The violations occurred from 2013 through 2016, spanning a change in the facility’s corporate ownership. From 2009 until 30 June 2016, the facility was owned and operated by Essroc. On 1 July 2016, Lehigh’s parent corporation HeidelbergCement acquired Essroc’s parent corporation Italcementi. Argos acquired the facility on 1 December 2016. EPA cited the companies for various Clean Air Act violations based on responses to EPA information requests and data collected and reported under the plant’s permit.

Cosmo Servidio, EPA regional administrator, says: “This settlement demonstrates that EPA will hold accountable companies that fail to comply with operating permits that set forth requirements for protecting public health and the environment. Communities have a right to be protected from hazardous air pollutants, and EPA continues to ensure those protections.”

The alleged violations include:

  • Exceeding annual emission limits for total suspended particulates and fine particulate matter less than 10 micrometers in diameter.
  • Non-compliance with opacity testing, monitoring, reporting and recordkeeping requirements and exceeding opacity limits.
  • Failing to comply with requirements for operating a kiln that is subject to dioxin/furan emission limits.
  • Failing to perform required stack testing on the kiln’s exhaust in a timely manner to determine compliance with emission limits for total suspended particulates, fine particulate matter, and volatile organic compounds.
  • Having prohibited visible emissions from manufacturing-related storage structures.
  • Failing to install, operate and maintain continuous emission monitoring for hydrochloric acid in a timely manner.