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EPA cites St. Marys Cement for clean-air violations

Release Date: 5/26/2005
Contact Information:

CONTACT: William Omohundro, (312) 353-8254

For Immediate Release
No. 05-OPA078

CHICAGO (May 26, 2005) — U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 has cited St. Marys Cement Inc. (the Dixon Plant) for alleged clean-air violations at the company's portland cement plant at 1914 White Oak Lane, Dixon, Ill.

EPA alleges that the Dixon Plant modified its cement kilns without getting a state permit that would require controls to prevent deterioration of air quality.

In addition, EPA alleges the plant violated state nitrogen oxide emissions rules by operating one of its kilns without installing control technology and by failing to meet emissions testing, monitoring and recordkeeping requirements.

EPA also alleges that the Dixon Plant exceeded federal dioxin and furan emission limits at all of its kilns by not maintaining temperature limits needed to control emissions.

"EPA's mission is to protect public health and the environment," said Acting Regional Administrator Bharat Mathur. "We will take whatever steps are needed to ensure compliance with the Clean Air Act."

These are preliminary findings of violations. To resolve them, EPA may issue a compliance order, assess an administrative penalty or bring suit against the company. The company has 30 days from receipt of the notice to meet with EPA to discuss resolving the allegations.

Nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone, or smog. Smog is formed when a mixture of air pollutants is baked in the hot summer sun. Smog can cause a variety of respiratory problems, including coughing and wheezing, shortness of breath and chest pain. People with asthma, children and the elderly are especially at risk, but these health concerns are important to everyone.

There is evidence that dioxins may cause liver damage and probably cause cancer in humans, and furans may cause cancer in humans.

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