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US cement plants recognised for environmental excellence

Published by
World Cement,

The 14th Annual Cement Industry Environment and Energy Awards have taken place at the Portland Cement Association’s Spring Meeting in Chicago, Illinois. The awards recognise cement plants that have taken action to improve their environmental impact, over and above regulatory and legal requirements.

“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 recognised for going even further, directly improving the land and neighbouring communities.”

Awards were given in the categories of Overall Environmental Excellence, Environmental Performance, Outreach, Land Stewardship, Innovation, and Energy Efficiency. The winners were as follows:

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 50%, including 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 autumn 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% 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 coal in the fuel feed with petcoke, a byproduct 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-ft 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 utilised the bleed water stream off the wet flue gas desulfurisation scrubber in its five clinker coolers. The water is vaporised 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 US 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 tonne of cement produced. 

History of the Awards

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

Adapted from press release by

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