More detailed reports sought
Board of Health wants pollutant, temperature data from Cemex

By Todd Neff, Camera Staff Writer
December 13, 2005

The Boulder County Board of Health wants more detailed pollution and temperature data from the Cemex Inc. cement plant in Lyons.

The plant is being investigated by the state health department for the third time in four years. The most recent case, announced by the state health department in September, alleges that Cemex exceeded temperature limits designed to control emission of carcinogens 72,000 times in 2004 alone.

The detailed data that led to the action isn't automatically filed with the state, but is available on request unless Cemex reports the data being out of bounds, which the state alleges the company failed to do. Some of the data were more than 18 months old before they caught regulators' attention.

A resolution passed Monday by the county's health board would counter such time lags.

The resolution asks the state to require Cemex to provide key pollutant and temperature data on a regular basis. It asks that Cemex give such data to county health inspectors quarterly until the state begins getting it.

The details requested from Cemex include continuous monitoring data regarding opacity, or visible pollution, from the plant's kiln, main storage facility and cement silo; continuous emissions reporting on pollutants such as sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide; and temperature data recorded at the kiln's inlet and pollution-control baghouse.

Pamela Milmoe, the county's air and waste coordinator, said such data requirements could be added to either Cemex's next state operating permit or included in a possible settlement related to the current state investigation.

"These are, we think, the big-ticket items," said Milmoe, who wrote the resolution as approved.

Milmoe said having the state require the data would have an added benefit.

The Boulder County Board of Health resolution asks Cemex for:

Opacity(visible pollution) readings from the Cemex plant kiln, storage facility and cement silo.

Emissions of pollutantssuch as sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide, in tons per month as reported by continuous emissions monitoring.

Temperature datarecorded at the kiln's inlet and pollution-control baghouse. "I wouldn't mind having the state's eyes on this information," Milmoe said. "I think it's information that especially the inspection staff should be following more closely than they have been." David Ouimette, manager of the stationary sources program for Colorado's Air Pollution Control Division, said Cemex's revised permit would be issued for public comment in the coming days. He said he couldn't comment on whether the Boulder County provisions were included in the permit because he hadn't yet seen them.

There were no Cemex officials at the county health board meeting Monday.

Community watchdogs were pleased with the resolution, but had penned their own more expansive version at the board's request. It encompassed the county requests, plus information on truck and railcar trips in and out of the Cemex plant, wind speed, and quantity and type of fuel the plant burns, among other data.

The community proposal also asked for monthly reporting from Cemex.

County staff said the county lacks the personnel to keep up with monthly data.

Ric Breese, a Lyons resident and Cemex watchdog at the meeting, said the state could require Cemex to pay for additional county staff time in the event the current state investigation has basis.

"Let's be creative about this," he said.

Contact Camera Staff Writer Todd Neff at (303) 473-1327 or br>

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