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Violations found at 2 concrete plants

Apr, 23 2004

Violations found at 2 concrete plants Frisco operators fixed flaws, environmental commission says (Frisco, Texas) An environmental investigation at two Frisco concrete plants found two violations at each plant, state officials said this week. A report by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality states that plant operators addressed the problems promptly after receiving written notice of the violations. Each plant had failed to control dust emissions or properly operate and maintain emissions control equipment, the report states. The plants, operated by Redi-Mix Inc. and Southern Star Concrete, have come under scrutiny recently from residents and city officials, who have expressed concerns about health, safety and noise. Commission officials investigated a nearby asphalt plant, APAC, last year and also found two violations, which were corrected. All the plants are near State Highway 121 west of Custer Road. The latest report reveals violations at the Redi-Mix and Southern Star plants – which mix concrete for delivery in trucks to construction sites – on March 5 and March 23. In both cases, the roads around the plants were not watered down, causing clouds of dust to form when vehicles drove by. On a follow-up visit April 14, the roads had been watered and swept. Redi-Mix officials could not be reached for comment. Eddie Saucedo, environmental safety manager for Southern Star, said Wednesday that he had not seen the report. In another violation, equipment used to control emissions when pouring or mixing the concrete material was either not operating or working improperly. This problem was noted at both plants. The agency's recent examination followed a request in February by Mayor Mike Simpson, who asked the commission to visit the facilities and monitor air quality. He said he had not finished reading the report but complimented the commission's responsiveness. Frank Espino, the commission's regional director, said it's difficult to know whether the problems noted in the investigation are recurring or rare. "All of our investigations are a snapshot in time," he said. However, he said investigators would continue to observe operations at the plants when they're in the area. "It's not a one-time thing," Mr. Espino said. "We know we've got some issues out there." Additionally, the agency has not completed an air-quality study that would measure particulate matter at the three facilities' property lines. Mr. Espino said that report would take about three months. Amy Klimczyk, a resident of nearby Turnbridge Manor, said she hopes to learn more from the air-monitoring investigation. The latest report "didn't really answer our questions," she said. "What does this particulate matter mean?" She and other residents also have complained to city officials about the noise and say the plants sometimes operate in the middle of the night. By STELLA M. CHÁVEZ / The Dallas Morning News

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