For Release: Thursday, July 21, 2011
DEC Issues Permits for New Lafarge Facility
Lafarge Building Materials Inc. received the necessary state permits to modernize and expand its existing cement manufacturing facility in Albany County, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today.
"Lafarge has demonstrated its commitment to some of the most rigorous environmental standards in the country, which will result in a 66 percent reduction in mercury emissions," DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said. "In addition, this new facility will ensure a continued local supply of a critical building material."
After an extensive environmental review which included numerous public involvement opportunities and an expanded public review and comment period, DEC issued air and water discharge permits to allow Lafarge to expand its operations in New York state.
Under Lafarge's proposal, the company will replace the existing "wet" cement-making process with a more energy efficient "dry" cement-making process. The new process will replace two kilns and their associated 325-foot smoke stack with a single kiln with a 525-foot smoke stack which will be partially enclosed to reduce visual impacts.
Once the planned improvements are made the facility's production capacity will increase from about 1.72 million to 2.81 million tons of clinker per year. Clinker is the solid material produced at the plant which is ground and mixed with gypsum to make cement.
Lafarge's planned new plant will decrease fuel use, electrical demand and greenhouse gas emissions per ton of clinker produced. As a result of the state-of-the-art emission control technologies to be used, the new plant will also achieve steep reductions in emissions of pollutants associated with acid rain (sulfur dioxide or SOX emissions will drop 95 percent) and ground level ozone, or smog (nitrogen oxides emissions or NOX will drop 60 percent). In addition, emissions of fine particulate matter measuring 2.5 micrometers or less (called PM 2.5) will decrease from 560 tons per year to 351 tons per year.
The new facility will altogether eliminate manufacturing process water discharges and decrease overall water use. The facility will no longer use Hudson River water as a primary water supply and will install screening to protect aquatic organisms when river water is used as a backup supply.