The US Environmental Protection Agency says Cemex will spend an estimated $1.7 million on pollution controls that will reduce harmful emissions of nitrogen oxides. In addition, the company will pay a $160,000 penalty for Clean Air Act violations.
“Air pollution of the type from this cement plant can lead to a number of serious health and environmental problems, including respiratory problems, heart disease, and smog,” said Judith A Enck, Environmental Protection Agency regional administrator.
Cemex is one of the largest producers of cement in the United States. The cement kiln system in Ponce has operated for over 20 years and is a major source of nitrogen oxide emissions.
The settlement addresses modifications Cemex made to its cement plant without obtaining the proper permit, as required by the Clean Air Act. Businesses that produce large quantities of air pollution are required to obtain permits and install pollution control technology before making changes that would significantly increase emissions.
Following an EPA inspection, Cemex conducted a smokestack test at its Ponce facility and potential violations were discovered. In the settlement, Cemex will install control technology, which will reduce annual emissions of nitrogen oxides by approximately 1,423 tons per year.