Europe / Middle East / Africa
Lafarge cement plant applies to burn railroad ties, shingles
May, 03 2012
(UK) -- Three years after backing off on a plan to burn tires at its cement plant in Bath, Lafarge is applying to throw debris such as railway ties and asphalt shingles into its kiln.
The “low carbon fuel demonstration project” would run for three years and incinerate up to 75 tonnes of construction and demolition debris each day.
The application for compliance approval, written by the consulting firm Golder Associates, says that “the emissions from the Bath plant cement kiln are not expected to be significantly changed in comparison to the existing emissions.”
The plant burns 110,000 tonnes of coal and petroleum coke each year.
Lafarge is hoping to reduce that amount by 30% using alternative fuels, including biomass products such as grasses and trees.
“They are constantly seeking cheaper fuels to produce their product,” said Mark Mattson, president of the environmental group Lake Ontario Waterkeeper.
Three years ago, Lafarge applied to the province for permission to burn tires to make its cement.
That’s when people in the Bath area and Lake Ontario Waterkeeper rose up to fight the plan.
One week before Waterkeeper and Lafarge were to meet ahead of an environmental review tribunal, Lafarge backed off after the group had spent $200,000 to prepare.
“They’re saying they're going to reduce the carbon,” said Mattson of the new plan. “They’re not showing that in the business plan.”
As with the tire burning, Mattson is concerned about the waste that comes from cement production burning, not just the airborne pollution.
Lafarge dumps its waste into an onsite quarry.
When it rains, he said, the runoff goes into Bath Creek then into Lake Ontario.
“What are they going to do with the waste?” Mattson asked. “My concern with that facility is they landfill. It’s not up to modern standards.”
The spokesman for Lafarge in Bath, Rob Cumming, was out of town and not available for comment Tuesday.
In a letter sent out to stakeholders last month, Cumming lists scientists at Queen’s University and World Wildlife Fund Canada as partners in the test project.
The application was sent to the provincial environment ministry on April 20. There is a 45-day period for people to make comments to the Environmental Registry.
Mattson said his organization will do what it can with limited resources and staff to monitor the process.
All of the responsibility to make the right decision, he said, will fall on the environment ministry.
“They’re focusing on the emissions from the air,” said Mattson. “We keep going back to focusing on the water.”
Mattson is impressed with the way Lafarge has done its preparatory work this time and is striving to be more open with information.
Last November, the company held a meeting for the public in Bath which was attended by 31 people.
“Lafarge learned a hard lesson from the tire burning. They overstated how easy it would be to go ahead with the project,” he said.
“It seems they’re making a real effort to be more open. They’re hoping this transparent, open approach will be a more successful model. I have to give them credit for that.”
By Paul Schliesmann
Hanley Wood LLC, the premier media, event, information and strategic marketing services company serving the construction industry and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced today a strategic partnership whereby Hanley Wood has acquired the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo. More
SMC to spend $750M for 3 cement plants. More