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April 16, 2015

Cement Industry Honors 2015 Leaders in Environmental Excellence

Plants Commended for Benefiting Local Communities, Global Environment

SKOKIE, Ill.—Three cement plants received special recognition for their commitment to improving the environment and their communities at the 14th Annual Cement Industry Environment and Energy Awards.  The Awards were presented by the Portland Cement Association (PCA) and Cement Americas magazine at PCA's Spring Meeting in Chicago, Illinois.

The awards honor cement production facilities that have taken actions toward continuous environmental improvement, beyond government regulations and local laws, to make their plants and their communities better places to work and live.

“Cement companies are constantly improving manufacturing practices and incorporating new technologies to make their plants cleaner and more energy efficient,” said James G. Toscas, President and CEO of PCA. “These particular facilities are being recognized for going even further, directly improving the land and neighboring communities.”

Plants throughout North America were evaluated in six categories, and the following received awards (listed by category, company, and plant location):

  • Overall Environmental Excellence: Lafarge North America Inc., Alpena, Michigan
  • Outreach: CEMEX USA, Lyons, Colorado
  • Environmental Performance: Lafarge North America Inc., Alpena, Michigan
  • Land Stewardship: CEMEX USA Brooksville South, Brooksville, Fla.
  • Innovation: Lafarge North America Inc., Alpena, Michigan
  • Energy Efficiency: CEMEX USA Brooksville South, Brooksville, Florida

 Seven cement plants in North America were nominated for the awards.

Overall Environmental Excellence
Lafarge North America Inc., Alpena, Michigan 
Throughout 2014, the Alpena plant took several measures to improve its performance, as well as the area and community around it. Alpena took on a voluntary commitment to undertake pollution prevention projects within the plant by partnering with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ). The Lafarge Alpena Plant successfully reduced several emissions by fifty percent inducing sodium dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and mercury. The plant joined with General Motors and the Girl Scouts who built bat houses made from recycled materials including wood pallets, and battery covers from the Chevy Volt, and placed on the Lafarge property.

CEMEX USA, Lyons, Colorado
For the past year, the CEMEX USA Lyons facility focused its support on the recovery of the Town of Lyons and adjacent communities after the area was devastated by a 100-year flood in the fall of 2013. In addition to monetary donations, the plant partnered with several agencies on flood relief and rehabilitation. The plant donated dumpsters and waste disposal for flood debris as well as rock for the repair of a creek to pre-flood path in coordination with Boulder County and Colorado’s Division of Reclamation and Mining.

Environmental Performance Award
Lafarge North America Inc., Alpena, Michigan 

The cement plant in Alpena continued to meet and exceed its regulatory and permit emission limits. Compared to 2013, the facility reduced its Title V emissions by 50 percent by weight for the total of sodium dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxide (NOx), volatile organic compounds (VOC), hydrogen chloride (HCI), and particulate manner (PM). Many of these reductions were a direct result of replacing cola in the fuel feed with petroleum coke, a by-product from oil refineries, and using waste plastics and shredded shingles as alternative fuels.

Land Stewardship
CEMEX USA Brooksville South, Brooksville, Florida 
The CEMEX USA Brooksville facility completed a top-down approach to land stewardship in 2014. Starting at the top, CEMEX established an osprey nesting platform on top of a 12-foot pole overlooking the property. To attract native birds and other wildlife to the area, the plant looked to the bottom, and teamed with the Wetland Management Services to plant native species on the littoral shelf in one of its ponds.

Lafarge North America Inc., Alpena, Michigan 
The Alpena plant took on several initiatives to improve processes and save resources. The plant utilized the bleed water stream off the wet flue gas desulfurization scrubber in its five clinker coolers. The water is vaporized in the clinker cooler and any solids in the stream are incorporated into the clinker, which prevented the bleed water stream from becoming waste water and needing additional treatment.

Energy Efficiency
CEMEX USA Brooksville South, Brooksville, Florida 
The Brooksville South plant received recognition from the U.S. EPA ENERGY STAR® in 2014 for their energy conversation efforts. The facility followed the guidelines by implementing energy conservation and monitoring technologies, promoting energy efficiency awareness among employees, and completing energy reduction projects. The plant’s efforts focused on the use of supplemental cementitious materials that reduced the greenhouse gas emissions associated with every ton of cement produced. 

History of the Awards
The awards program was created in 2000 by the Portland Cement Association as part of its environment and energy strategic plan for the U.S. cement industry. The awards honor activities conducted during the previous calendar year, and the program is open to any cement manufacturing plant in North America. Judges for the 2014 awards Program included representatives from U.S. EPA-ENERGY STAR, Wildlife Habitat Council, U.S. Geological Survey, World Wildlife Fund, and Cement Americas.

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