Since January of 1999, the Watchdogs' Steering Committee has been actively
participating as a member of the North Boulder County Environmental Health
Community Task Force. The Task Force was created by the Boulder County
Health Department for the purpose of bringing together representatives from
industry, government, the private sector, and local environmental
organizations in order to work collectively toward a goal of improving the
health and environment of north Boulder County.
For decades, the frequent high winds of the Lyons' foothills have swept thick clouds of fugitive dust from the Southdown cement plant, blowing eastward into the homes, pastures, and farms of neighbors along the St. Vrain Valley River west of Hygiene. The health effects of exposure to these dusts are currently being researched and are of great concern to the Watchdogs; therefore, reducing fugitive dust and improving air quality have been two of the group's high priorities. Bringing these concerns to Southdown's attention and working on the issues through the Task Force, has resulted in significant improvements in plant hygiene, waste disposal procedures, employee awareness and responsiveness, and the acquisition of new dust control equipment. Residents of the area have reported they have been able to open their windows for the first time in nine years. More improvements can and will be made.
The productive interplay of citizens, environmental associations, industry, and government working for the public good has fostered and facilitated win-win possibilities.
The following update to the Watchdogs' web-site outlines the specific steps taken by industry to reduce fugitive dust emissions in this region. It should also be noted that these steps are voluntary measures. They are, in most instances, beyond the regulatory enforcement dust control plan required by the State and County.
1. Hot-line to Southdown's Console Room: The hot-line is used to report fugitive dust sighting in or around the industrial complex. The employee on duty in the console room completes a citizen's complaint form and dispatches personnel to the specific site to implement corrective action. The form is then forwarded to the plant manager, the production manager, and the environmental compliance officer for appropriate follow-up action. A follow-up letter is sent to the citizen who called in the complaint. The letter specifies the action that was taken to correct the problem.
2. Video Camera: In the near future, a video surveillance camera system will be installed on the company's property in order to monitor for site-specific sources of fugitive dust emissions. Personnel in the console room will be able to view the facility from a monitor linked to the camera. It is anticipated that this system will facilitate the identification of site specific sources of emissions and thus reduce the time required for corrective action.
3. Environmental Responsibilities and Job Description: Southdown has initiated work expectations of employees. It is the responsibility and work expectation of every person at Southdown to be knowledgeable of and adhere to all environmental procedures and regulations pertinent to the facility. Employees have various environmental responsibilities, and they sign off that they understand these responsibilites and will comply with them. (There is also talk that Southdown may initiate environmental incentives for employees in the near future.)
The following photographs outline the steps that can improve air quality.
1. New Truck Sweeper
This is a recent acquisition that is used to keep roadways and loading areas clean of dust and material spills.
2,3,4. Water Wagon
Two water trucks are used to keep the plant's roadways and haul roads clean. This strategy is also a safety measure for mitigating the potential for dust emissions during dry and windy conditions. One truck has a capacity of 4,000 gallons; the other has 10,000 gallons. The water trucks are also operative from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on weekends.
5. Truck Wash
Carrier trucks leaving the plant are funneled through a truck wash station. The truck wash is designed to removed any spillage of portland cement from the truck's loading port.
6. Water Sprinkler System at CKD Disposal Site: This system is used to contain cement kiln dust in the disposal site. This system is turned on 5 to 6 times a day as required.
7. Wetting Material: This photo show that water or a polymer application is applied to materials prior to loading and transport to the plan.
8. PM-10 Monitor: A PM-10 monitor has been installed on Southdown's
property for the purpose of collecting particulate data. The data is
collected every other day. The pads are evaluated and an independent lab
does analysis for PM-10 weight.
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