WILMINGTON, NC – Officials from Carolinas Cement Company announced today that the Division of Air Quality of the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR) has issued an air quality permit to parent company Titan America LLC to construct a cement plant in Castle Hayne. The issuance of the Permit comes after four years of technical review of the proposed facility to ensure it will comply with North Carolina's air quality regulations and standards.
The Permit was issued after extensive evaluation by DENR, including using air models that incorporate government-approved local meteorological, topographic and site specific information. The models calculate the concentrations of regulated emissions at the boundaries of the plant property and ambient concentrations throughout the local region and other designated locations to assure they are below the legal limits and do not impact the county's attainment status.
"These laws and regulations governing industrial emissions are among the strictest in the world," said Dan Crowley, Titan America's VP of Corporate Engineering. "The issuance of our air quality permit is only a first step. After the plant begins operating we will be subject to unannounced audits by State and Federal regulators as well as internal compliance audits to ensure our emissions are consistently within permitted limits."
Carolinas Cement will meet all new EPA federal regulations for Portland cement plants that were finalized in 2010, and these regulations are fully represented in the DAQ air permit.
The company received a revised Draft Air Quality Permit on August 5, 2011 after a second round of extensive technical reviews of the proposed facility to ensure it will comply with North Carolina and federal air quality regulations and standards. Shortly after, the state held three public hearing meetings at which New Hanover County citizens were invited to offer verbal and written comments. The DAQ then scrutinized the comments to ensure the permit addressed all relevant points.
"This was a long, exhaustive process," said Robert Sells, Titan America's Mid-Atlantic Business Unit President, "But we are absolutely committed to following the EPA's rules to construct one of the safest and most advanced cement plants in the world. We appreciate all the hard work the State of North Carolina has put into this. And we thank our supporters for keeping the faith."
Now that the air quality permit has been issued, Carolinas Cement plans to proceed with completing the federal Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) needed to obtain necessary wetlands permits. The EIS is an 18-24 month process led by the US Army Corps of Engineers (COE) and requires Carolinas Cement to hire an independent third party to conduct studies of potential impact to numerous ecological and social factors, such as water, aquifers, traffic and flora and fauna.
Parallel to the COE permitting process, Titan America will begin a two-year process to design and engineer the new plant. The design process could not begin prior to the issuance of the air permit, as the design must correspond to the exact standards outlined by the air permit. The new plant will pioneer the industry's most advanced emission control technologies to ensure that public health, the aquifers, the Cape Fear River and Island Creek are protected throughout every step of this process.
According to Carolinas Cement General Manager, Bob Odom, when the plant is fully operating the estimated annual fiscal impact to New Hanover County will exceed $120 million. Carolinas Cement will create 161 permanent, full-time jobs and 1,000 construction jobs during its two-year construction phase.
Carolinas Cement Company is a subsidiary of Titan America LLC. Titan America LLC, headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia, is the premier heavy building materials producer in the eastern United States. Titan America operations include cement plants, ready-mixed concrete plants, concrete block plants, quarries, import and rail terminals and fly ash beneficiation facilities. For more information about Carolinas Cement, visit www.carolinascement.com.