EPA Sets Limits on Mercury and Other Air Emissions from Cement Kilns
Cement plants emit mercury from the kilns used in the cement manufacturing process. Cement kilns operate at high temperatures, and are, in fact used to destroy many types of toxic substances. The rule, proposed on August 9, 2010 also applies to total hydrocarbons (THC), and particulate matter (PM) from new and existing kilns located at major and area sources, and for hydrochloric acid (HCl) from new and existing kilns located at major sources. The standards for new kilns apply to facilities that commence construction, modification, or reconstruction after May 6, 2009
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued final rules to cut emissions of mercury, particle pollution and other harmful pollutants from Portland cement manufacturing, the third-largest source of mercury air emissions in the United States. EPA calculates that the rules will yield $7 to $19 in public health benefits for every dollar in costs. Mercury can damage children’s developing brains, and particle pollution is linked to a wide variety of serious health effects, including aggravated asthma, irregular heartbeat, heart attacks, and premature death in people with heart and lung disease.
"Americans throughout the country are suffering from the effects of pollutants in our air, especially our children who are more vulnerable to these chemicals," EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said. "This administration is committed to reducing pollution that is hurting the health of our communities. With this historic step, we are going a long way in accomplishing that goal. By reducing harmful pollutants in the air we breathe, we cut the risk of asthma attacks and save lives."
This action sets the nation’s first limits on mercury air emissions from existing cement kilns, strengthens the limits for new kilns, and sets emission limits that will reduce acid gases. This final action also limits particle pollution from new and existing kilns, and sets new-kiln limits for particle and smog-forming nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide.
When fully implemented in 2013, EPA estimates the annual emissions from cement kilns will be reduced as follows:
· Mercury — 16,600 pounds or 92 percent
· Total hydrocarbons — 10,600 tons or 83 percent
· Particulate Matter — 11,500 tons or 92 percent
· Acid gases — (measured as hydrochloric acid): 5,800 tons or 97 percent
· Sulfur dioxide (SO2)— 110,000 tons or 78 percent
· Nitrogen oxides (NOx) — 6,600 tons or 5 percent
For more information: http://www.epa.gov/ttn/oarpg/t3pfpr.html