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Lafarge North America, Inc. Clean Air Act Settlement

(WASHINGTON, D.C. - January 21, 2010) The United States today filed two major Clean Air Act settlements to reduce air emissions from container glass and Portland cement plants throughout the country, announced Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance and Ignacia S. Moreno, Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division.

The settlements cover 15 U.S. plants owned by Saint-Gobain Containers, Inc., the nation’s second largest container glass manufacturer, and all 13 U.S. plants owned by the Lafarge Company and two subsidiaries, the nation’s second largest manufacturer of Portland cement. These settlements are the first system-wide settlements for these sectors under the Clean Air Act and require pollution control upgrades, acceptance of enforceable emission limits and payment of civil penalties.

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Overview of Company and Location of Facilities

Lafarge is a French industrial company specializing in four major products:

  • cement
  • construction aggregates
  • concrete
  • gypsum wallboard

Lafarge North America is the largest diversified supplier of construction materials in the U.S. and Canada and is currently the world's largest cement manufacturer by mass of product shipped. Headquartered in Herndon, Va., Lafarge North America employs more than 16,600 people who work at more than 1,000 locations across the U.S. and Canada.

Lafarge owns 13 cement manufacturing facilities in the United States, making it one of the largest cement manufacturers in the country. The table to the right lists the facilities owned and operated by Lafarge in the U.S. and the number of kilns at each facility.

Plant Location Number of Kilns
Alpena, Mich. 5
Atlanta, Ga. 1
Davenport, Iowa 1
Fredonia, Kan. 2
Harleyville, S.C. 1
Joppa, Ill. 2
Paulding, Ohio 2
Ravena, N.Y. 2
Roberta, Ala. 1
Seattle, Wash. 1
Sugar Creek, Mo. 1
Tulsa, Okla. 2
Whitehall, Pa 2

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The complaint alleged the following violations:

  • Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD), Part C of the Title I, at §§ 7661a-f; and Clean Air Act (CAA) 42 U.S.C. §§ 7470-7492
  • Nonattainment New Source Review (nonattainment NSR), 42 U.S.C. §§ 7501-7515
  • The federally-approved and enforceable state implementation plans (SIPs) in each of the states where a Lafarge facility is located, that incorporate and/or implement the above-listed federal PSD and/or nonattainment NSR requirements
  • Title V of the CAA, 42 U.S.C. §§ 7661-7661f, and Title V's implementing federal and state regulations

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Injunctive Relief

The consent decree secures injunctive relief from all 13 cement facilities. When all controls required under the consent decree are fully implemented, by 2014, the settlement will reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) by more than 9,900 tons per year and sulfur dioxide (SO2) by more than 26,000 tons per year.

The settlement requires Lafarge to:

  • Install and operate a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system to control NOx at its Joppa, Ill. Kiln 1
  • Install and operate selective non-catalytic reduction (SNCR) systems to control NOx on 17 of their 23 kilns
  • Install and operate wet gas scrubbers (WGS) to control SO2 at 4 of their 23 kilns
  • Install and operate dry absorbent addition (DAA) systems to control SO2 at 13 of the 23 kilns
  • Operate continuous emission monitors (CEMs) on all U.S. operating kilns

The facility-specific NOx and SO2 controls and limits required by the consent decree are as follows:

Plant Kiln ID Consent Decree Required SO2 Controls Consent Decree Required NOx Controls
Alpena 19 DAA SNCR
Atlanta 1 kiln shutdown kiln shutdown
Davenport 1 DAA none (compliance with existing BACT limit)
Fredonia 1 DAA SNCR
Harleyville 1 none (compliance with existing BACT limit) none (compliance with existing BACT limit)
Joppa 1 none SCR
2 kiln shutdown kiln shutdown
Paulding 1 DAA SNCR
Ravena 1 WGS SNCR
Roberta 5 none (emission limit 2.2lb/ton) none (emission limit 2.4lb/ton)
Seattle 1 DAA SNCR
Sugar Creek 1 none SNCR (run year-round)
Tulsa 1 DAA1 SNCR
Whitehall 2 DAA SNCR

1 Tulsa will submit data and EPA will determine whether it can meet 2.5 lb/ton SO2, if it cannot, it will be required to install DAA

DAA - Dry Absorbent Addition

SNCR - Selective Non-Catalytic Reduction

SCR - Selective Catalytic Reduction

WGS - Wet Gas Scrubber

IF/LNB - Indirect Firing/Low NOx Burner

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Pollutant Reductions

Upon complete implementation, the projects required by this settlement are expected to reduce annual emissions from the 13 Lafarge facilities by more than 26,000 tons of SO2 and 9,900 tons of NOx.

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Health and Environmental Effects

The pollutants reduced under this settlement are known to have numerous adverse, significant environmental and health effects. These reductions will benefit the environment and the health of persons living near the Lafarge facilities as well as in downwind areas.

  • Nitrogen Oxides - Nitrogen oxides can cause ground-level ozone, acid rain, particulate matter, global warming, water quality deterioration, and visual impairment. Nitrogen oxides play a major role, with volatile organic chemicals, in the atmospheric reactions that produce ozone. Children, people with lung diseases such as asthma, and people who work or exercise outside are susceptible to adverse effects such as damage to lung tissue and reduction in lung function.
  • Sulfur Dioxide - Sulfur dioxides affect breathing and may aggravate existing respiratory and cardiovascular disease. Sensitive populations include asthmatics, individuals with bronchitis or emphysema, children and the elderly. Sulfur dioxide is also a primary contributor to acid deposition, or acid rain.

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Civil Penalty

Lafarge has also agreed to pay a civil penalty of $5,075,000 within 30 days of entry of the consent decree. $3,383,000 will be paid to the United States, and the remainder will be paid to the state and local agencies participating in the settlement.

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State Partners

The states of Alabama, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Washington, and the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency participated in settlement negotiations and are signatories to the agreement.

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Comment Period

The proposed settlement lodged in the Southern District of Illinois is subject to a 30-day comment period and final court approval. Information on submitting comment is available at the Department of Justice website.

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For more information, contact:

Apple Chapman
OECA, Air Enforcement Division
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, MC 2242A
Washington, DC 20460
Phone: (202) 564-5666

Shaun Burke
Senior Environmental Engineer
Air Enforcement Division, U. S. EPA
1200 Pennsylvania Ave NW (MC 2242A)
Washington, DC 20460
(202) 564-1039

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