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Friday, December 10, 2010

DEP Fines Hercules Cement $218,750 for Past Air Quality Violations

DEP Fines Hercules Cement $218,750 for Past Air Quality Violations
Enforcement Action Part of Ongoing Efforts to Improve Lehigh Valley’s Air Quality

WILKES-BARRE -- After requiring Hercules Cement Co. to take a number of measures to reduce smog and particulates that can diminish air quality, the Department of Environmental Protection announced today that the company has paid $218,750 for violations at its Stockertown Borough, Northampton County facility between 2006 and 2008.

“The emissions violations Hercules committed increased overall air pollution in the Lehigh Valley and that can have a detrimental impact on the health of residents throughout the region,” said DEP Northeast Regional Director Michael Bedrin. “Hercules and other companies must abide by the emission levels set forth in their permits so that we can maintain—if not improve—air quality in the region.”

Bedrin said the penalty covers multiple emissions violations, and the company’s failure to monitor and maintain air quality data during that timeframe.

The civil penalty reflects $28,910 for emission violations, including sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and opacity measurements (determined by how the concentration of emitted particulates restricts light) from equipment at the company; $76,680 for data availability problems; and $113,160 for late data reporting during that period.

The company is required to monitor for sulfur oxides and nitrogen oxides from its cement kilns. Equipment problems with these continuous emission monitors (CEMs) in mid-2006 led Hercules to install temporary equipment until October 2006 when the original monitors were repaired.

In July 2007, the system malfunctioned again, requiring the temporary monitors to be re-installed. The repaired system was installed in November 2007. The company subsequently replaced it with a new monitoring system in April 2008.

DEP has worked diligently to inspect and enforce air quality throughout northeast Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley. The department’s regional air quality program conducted more than 7,800 inspections since 2003 and collected $2.6 million in civil penalties that help to support additional enforcement efforts.

For more information, visit www.depweb.state.pa.us or call 570-826-2511.

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