Daily Dirt

Cement Industry Honors Leaders In Environmental Improvement

Six cement plants received special recognition for their commitment to improving the environment and their communities at the Eighth Annual Cement Industry Environment and Energy Awards, presented by Portland Cement Association (PCA) and Cement Americas magazine at PCA’s Spring Meeting in Chicago, April 28, 2009.

The awards program, created in 2000 by PCA as part of its renewed environment and energy strategic plan for the U.S. cement industry, honors individual cement facilities that exemplify the spirit of continuous environmental improvement and support this spirit with action. These plants went beyond government regulations and local laws to ensure that their processes and policies contributed to making their communities better places to live and work. The awards honor activities conducted during the previous calendar year, and the program is open to any cement manufacturing plant in North America.

“Minimizing the environment impact of its plants and making their local communities better places are top priorities for cement manufacturers,” said Brian McCarthy, PCA president and CEO. “The actions taken by these plants and many others are at the fore-front of manufacturing technology and illustrate the cement industry’s commitment to produce a superior product while continuously challenging policies and procedures”

Twenty-five cement plants in the United States and Canada were nominated for the awards. Six categories recognized plants throughout the United States:

  • Overall Environmental Excellence: A facility that demonstrates excellence in several or each of the below categories is recognized with this award.

    Titan America LLC/Roanoke Cement Company Troutville, VA
    Honored as a runner-up in the Energy Efficiency category and a finalist in the Environmental Performance category, the Roanoke Cement Company plant is keenly aware that increasing efficiencies in operations reduces its environmental impact. The company has initiated several programs to meet its goal to reduce, reclaim and reuse wastes. For example, it reuses 100 percent of its cement kiln dust (CKD) and is emptying its CKD landfill for use by local farmers. For the past two years Roanoke Cement has been a receipt of the U.S. EPA’s ENERGY STAR and in 2008 became an ENERGY STAR partner. As an ENEGY STAR partner, all Titan plants will submit to independent energy efficiency monitoring that includes base lining, tracking, and benchmarking the company’s energy performance. Surrounded by the Appalachian and Blue Ridge Mountains, the plant and its employees participate in several environmental community events including an creek-clean up.
  • Outreach: Facilities that strive to enhance community, employee, and government relations through communication, partnerships, voluntary efforts, contributions, environmental education, and other measures are honored in this award.

    Holcim (US) Inc. – Theodore, AL
    The Holcim Theodore facility staff participates in a number of community and environmental outreach activities each year. For the past several years, the plant has participated in the Annual Alabama Coastal Cleanup Day, a world-wide event to clean trash and debris from beaches, lakes and streams. During the 2008 Clean-up, Holcim-led volunteers collected more than 3,000 pounds of debris from the Theodore Industrial Canal. In addition to participation in community events such as Mobile Bay Derelict Crab Trap Removal Day and the Keep Mobile Beautiful electronic recycling days, the plant has a Community Advisory Committee made up of neighborhood residents. This group helps Holcim maintain an open line of communications with the local community and engages stakeholders.

  • Environmental Performance Award: This category honors those facilities that take steps beyond those contained in environmental laws, regulations, permits, and requirements to minimize their impact on the environment. Recognition for this award is given for pollution prevention, waste minimization, distinctive environmental controls, environmental management systems, and facility recognition.

    Holcim (US) Inc. – Holly Hill, SC
    In 2008, the Holcim Holly Hill facility completed several notable projects that improved their environmental performance in emissions and energy consumption. For example, the plant was able to reduce the amount of CKD by 44 percent compared to 2007 through better raw material analysis. The Holly Hill plant utilizes a significant amount of waste material that it generates as an alternative fuel source, saving landfill space and fossil fuels. In 2008, alternative fuels supplied 32 percent of the fuel requirements for the plant, the equivalent of nearly 62,000 tons of traditional fossil fuels.

  • Land Stewardship: Efforts to protect and enhance the surrounding land through landscaping, species protection, and remediation and rehabilitation of quarries, wetlands, and other features are recognized in this category.

    CEMEX – Knoxville, TN
    The CEMEX Knoxville plant has worked with the National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), local schools and other organizations to improve wildlife habitats on their property. It worked with University of Tennessee students to preserve and dedicate the nine-acre Cabbage Island in the Holston River as a wildlife habitat. The island is home to more than 30 avian species, including bald eagle, and 16 mammalian species. CEMEX also worked with the Wild Turkey Federation, the NRCS and Legacy Parks Foundation to locate 5.5 acres of wildlife food plots that improve nutrition of local wildlife such as white-tailed deer, wild turkey, and bobwhite quail.

  • Innovation: This category recognizes the development and application of innovation technologies and techniques relevant to environmental protection or energy efficiency.

    Buzzi Unicem USA – Greencastle, IN
    Greencastle Buzzi Unicem USA facility has found an innovative means to address a portion of their energy needs. It is the only cement plant in the U.S. utilizing spent pot liner (SPL) as an alternative fuel source. SPL, a waste product generated by the aluminum industry, traditionally has been sent to landfills. The Greencastle plant developed a dedicated storage, handling, and injection system for off-site processed pot liner. In addition to recognizing a modest replacement of coal when using the byproduct, SPT’s raw material constituents also allow for modest replacement of raw materials such as sand and shale. Based on the success of the SPL project, Buzzi is exploring the possibility of incorporating additional hard-to-handle waste materials from other industries.

  • Energy Efficiency: This category focuses on energy planning, applications of efficient technologies and practices, and climate change mitigation efforts.

    CalPortland Cement Company – Mojave, CA
    The CalPortland Cement Company Mojave plant has an efficiency program that has resulted in major energy reductions, saved thousands of dollars, and prevented the emission of tens of thousands of tons of carbon dioxide. In 2008, the plant completed a “behind-the-meter” wind project that represents the largest such renewable wind project servicing a manufacturing facility in the world to date. Eight 3-megawatt wind turbines (24 megawatts total) generate 60 million kilowatts per year of renewable energy and supply approximately 35 percent of the plant’s annual electricity needs. This is a reduction of over 42,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions which is the equivalent of powering 5,255 homes for a year.

New Jersey To Increase Road Construction Crews

Construction crews will be a familiar sight on roads, bridges and highways throughout the United States for the next several months thanks to federal and state efforts to improve the economy. New Jersey is no exception.

“Certainly this summer you’re going to see a lot of work,” said New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) Commissioner Steve Dilts during Tuesday’s Assembly Budget Committee meeting in Trenton, NJ.

Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), New Jersey has received over $1 billion in stimulus funds for highway, bridge and transit projects. New Jersey is building, designing or acquiring right-of-way for 40 projects throughout the state which will create thousands of jobs.

Dilts outlined his agency’s plans for the next fiscal year as part of the committee’s ongoing review of the $29.8 billion budget that Governor Jon Corzine (D) put forward in March. The address included much about construction.

The department’s operating budget is being reduced by Corzine as part of a broader response to revenue decreases brought on by the bad economy. But, Dilts said, his department and other state transportation agencies will spend nearly $6 billion on infrastructure improvements this year and in 2010, thanks to capital projects the governor has made a priority in an effort to create jobs.

Despite staff reductions and other cutbacks, Dilts said, DOT is prepared to handle oversight of the massive infrastructure spending.

“We will continue the high level of transparency we have instituted so the public knows exactly where stimulus dollars are going,” he said. “We embrace the transparency and accountability of this process in an effort to give the public full confidence in its government.”

Among the planned infrastructure projects is the new mass transit tunnel linking New Jersey and Manhattan. Dilts called the tunnel “the most important project of this generation.”

The tunnel construction will create 6,000 jobs annually through 2017 and 44,000 permanent jobs, he said. It will also speed up express service and in-state transit.

“The tunnel is absolutely a cornerstone of our transportation system moving forward,” added Dilts.

Greg Sitek

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