FL-DEP issues final permit for CEMEX Brooksville South Cement Plant

November 7, 2015

The new permit for the CEMEX Cement Plant near Brooksville was issued with an effective date of November 2, 2015.  The renewal application is due by September 21, 2017,  and the permit expires on May 3, 2018.

Click here to read the full text:  0530021-054-AV_Permit (Final)_signed

A comparison of this final permit with the text of the proposed permit issued several months ago indicates few changes to the final document.   Our recommendations to shut down the oft-cited plant were not accepted by the state and federal regulations will allow it to continue to operate if it complies with new higher standards,  so new equipment is being added to do so.

The CEMEX plant comprises two Portland cement manufacturing  lines, associated raw and produce materials handling activities; coal handling activities and auxiliary equipment as well as all of the land at the South Brooksville facility. It is located 20 kilometers east of the Prevention of Significant Deterioration of Air Quality Class 1 Chassahowitzka Wilderness Area and too close to Brooksville, our county seat, for many of us.

One change is that the Florida Department of Environmental Protection has instituted an electronic report format that CEMEX will now have to use to provide Annual Reports to the state.  In addition, a copy goes to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

This is a Title V major source of pollutant per state regulations and subject to federal New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) and National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP).  The most recent NSPS and NESHAP emissions limits have been incorporated into the permit.

Compliance dates:  Particulate matter standards must be met by September 9, 2016.  This allows time for construction of a new fabric filter baghouse and stack to control particulate matter including review of the baghouse system, procurement of new control equipment, installation, evaluation and performance testing.  This is needed because a recent permit separated Portland Cement Line 1 from the co-located Central Power and Lime Power 150 megawatt Power Plant.  That permit allowed conversion of the CP&L Power plant from coal to biomass as its primary fuel along with derating the power plant to approximately 80 megawatts.  Since they shared a common baghouse and exhaust stack, the power plant and CEMEX’s Portland Cement Line 1 will now each have its own equipment to control particulate matter emissions and an exhaust stack and separate permits.

Compliance with new standards for mercury, total hydrocarbons, and the new Portland Cement MACT Rule (or National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants from the Portland Cement Manufacturing Industry)  is extended from September 9, 2015, to  May 9, 2016.  Quarterly written progress reports are required.  The key milestones include installing a new sorbent injection system, evaluating, operating and testing the control equipment,  evaluating procurement options of raw materials and testing of selected materials, and complete MACT performance testing.

Fuels allowed to be used in Portland Cement Line 1  are coal, petcoke and natural gas.  Fuel oil and on specification used oil is allowed for the startup/preheating operation.  Tire derived fuel is allowed at the hot end of the kiln.  According to the permit, all of the materials handling activities are controlled by fabric filters baghouse control system, except for the clinker receiving/handling System–which uses an atomized water dust suppression system– and the coal yard activities–where water sprays or chemical wetting agents and stabilizers minimize emissions.  Fly ash handling systems are totally enclosed and vented through fabric filters.  Continuous monitors are operated.

For Portland Cement Line 2, fuels allowed are natural gas, distillate fuel oil, on specification used oil, coal, petroleum coke, propane, flyash, and tire derived fuels.  Nitrogen oxides emissions are controlled by the use of Selective Non-catalytic Reduction technology.  Sulfur dioxide emissions are controlled by use of low sulfur raw materials and inherent scrubbing by lime and limestone.  Carbon monoxide and voltaic organic compounds emissions are controlled by promoting complete combustion in the kiln and calciner and minimizing carbon and oil/grease in raw materials. Particulate mater is controlled with fabric filter baghouses.

Mercury emissions are controlled by material balance with a minimum of quarterly analyses of raw materials samples and making and maintaining records of monthly and rolling 12-month mercury throughout. Water sprays or chemical wetting agents and stabilizers are used at the coal receiving area, coal storage area and the coal transfer system to control fugitive particulate matter emissions and minimize visible emissions.  Continuous monitors are operated by opacity, nitrous oxide, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, total hydrocarbons, carbon dioxide and oxygen.

The permit allows the release of 200 pounds per year of mercury into the atmosphere, and sets allowable levels of arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead,  total halogens and sulfur.

Let’s hope that CEMEX operates the facility in accordance with the terms and conditions of this permit.  But even these limits are troubling.  We need to reduce the use of fossil fuels to protect public health and our environment.  Hernando County is beginning to support sustainable economic growth through nature and cultural tourism.  It already generates ten times as much income as mining and this cement plant with its obsolete coal-burning facility.


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