Keystone Cement fined $197K for pollution from Pennsylvania plant

Keystone Cement Co will pay nearly $200,000 in civil penalties for air-quality violations that occurred over a four-year period at its plant in East Allen Township, Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection says.

The DEP announced a settlement that resulted in the fines last week. The money will go directly to Pennsylvania’s Clean Air Fund, which pays for programs aimed at reducing air pollution in the state, the DEP says in a news release.

Quarterly emissions reports submitted by Keystone, which has a plant just west of Bath on Route 329, showed the company exceeded permitted emission limits for certain pollutants from 2010-2014, the news release states.

The DEP says the violations first occurred after the plant replaced two of its cement kilns with one larger, more efficient kiln in 2009. It was part of major upgrades that also allowed Keystone to monitor emissions of sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide.

“The self-reporting of emissions is an important part of demonstrating compliance with permitted emissions limits,” Mike Bedrin, director of DEP’s Northeast Regional Office, says in a statement. “The department takes emissions monitoring and the proper operation of control equipment very seriously.”

Steve Holt, vice president of environmental compliance at of Giant Cement Holding, Inc., Keystone’s parent company, says in a statement that the upgraded plant experienced unexpected problems after it went online in December 2009. The company worked diligently with designers to correct the problems, he says.

“We took these issues very seriously and we worked closely with our suppliers and employees to address the issues,” Holt says.

Although the DEP says the violations occurred from 2010-2014, Holt contends most of the problems occurred in the first two years after the upgrades.

“Because of the lengthy government process for certifying the monitors, the settlement reflects a longer period of time in which we also experienced some (emissions) exceedances but the majority of the settlement is for the 2010-2011 start-up period,” he says.  


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