USA: Dragon Cement gets permission for higher mercury emissions


Updated Mon, 21 Jul 2014 15:01:23 GMT

Dragon Cement’s plant in Thomaston has permission from the Maine Board of Environmental protection to operate under federal emissions standards that raise the amount of mercury the plant could release into the air by 68 per cent.

The plant had previously been limited to lower state set limits. An official from the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) said the amendment to the company’s air emission licence means that Dragon Products would be allowed to emit 42 pounds per year, but it would only occur if the company increased cement production above current levels.

The Environmental Protection Agency increased the maximum mercury emissions limit for cement plants in 2010, based on an analysis of emissions produced by some of the best-controlled cement kilns in the country.

A 2008 state law had capped mercury emissions at 25 pounds-a-year for the plant.

Under its new emissions license, Dragon Cement will be required to install a mercury emissions monitor in its emission stacks, a new regulation that will provide the DEP with “real-time data” .

According to the Natural Resources Council of Maine, Dragon Cement emitted at least 13 pounds of mercury into the air in 2011-12.