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APCD hearing board grants variance for Granite Construction asphalt tests

Apr, 23 2012

(California)  --  The San Diego County Air Pollution Control District Hearing Board granted a 90-day variance for Granite Construction Company for its initial source test at Granite’s asphalt plant in the 5600 block of Highway 76.

The hearing board’s 4-0 decision March 22, with Thomas Rappolt recusing himself since he is on the board of a company which contracts with Granite Construction, extends the deadline to June 19 for Granite to provide the testing information.

"They don’t control the weather, and they certainly don’t control their customers," said hearing board member Edward Gabrielson. "It’s sort of beyond your reasonable control."

In order to grant a variance the APCD hearing board must make findings that the petitioner would be in violation of an APCD rule or permit condition without the variance, that due to conditions beyond the petitioner’s control requiring compliance would result in an arbitrary or unreasonable taking of property or the practical closing or elimination of a lawful business, and that the petitioner will take measures to reduce emissions as much as possible and will monitor emissions during the variance period.

If Granite closed the plant and the customers obtained their asphalt from elsewhere, additional truck mileage would increase emissions and the asphalt would need to be heated to a higher temperature to stay fluid throughout the transportation process. "There would be more emissions with that," Gabrielson said.

The initial source test is intended to verify the emission limits in the permit, which was issued on June 8, 2011. The initial deadline to conduct the source tests was August 31, 2011. The asphalt plant was constructed in accordance with permit conditions, but the permitted GENCOR Ultra 135H burner did not meet the emission standards and was replaced with a new GENCOR Equinox burner which utilizes the most recent technology.

Construction of the burner and asphalt plant was completed in August, but an August 13 trimming of an overhanging boulder utilized too much explosive and the asphalt control house was destroyed. The loss of the control house required the location, installation, and reprogramming of a new control house, and the Air Pollution Control District extended the initial source test to March 9, 2012.

Plant repairs were completed in October 2011, and GENCOR began tuning the burner on October 28.

The testing requires the production of 320 tons per hour for three 70-minute time periods, which equates to 1,200 tons. "We don’t have anything of that size to be able to run the source test right now," said Granite Construction senior project manager Gary Nolan.

Granite Construction has a contract to provide the asphalt for Horse Ranch Creek Road, but a combination of rain and a grading stoppage due to archeological finds has led to delays in that project and rain has also delayed implementation of a contract with the California Department of Transportation. "We’ve been sitting more or less idle since about Thanksgiving," Nolan said. "We’re kind of at the mercy of the weather right now."

The permit conditions limit production to 500 tons per hour, 5,000 tons per day, and 1,000,000 tons over any 12-month period. Particulate matter loadings are limited to 0.014 grains per standard cubic foot of PM10 and 0.02 grains per standard cubic foot of total particulate matter. Sulfur compounds are limited to 0.002 pounds per ton of asphalt produced. Dry oxides of nitrogen are limited to 33 parts per million by volume (ppmv) while carbon monoxide emission concentration measured at the baghouse exhaust stack is limited to 820 ppmv.


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