DNR issues draft clean air permit for Holcim

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Company also receives storm water permit

Business Today

JEFFERSON CITY -- The global company aiming to build the country's largest cement plant in northern Ste. Genevieve County got a step closer in late January when the state Department of Natural Resources issued a draft clean air permit.

The permit contains provisions that would require Holcim Inc. to meet rigid air quality standards in the St. Louis area.

An official for Holcim said the 108-page permit contains requirements the company can meet.

The company wants to build a quarry and kiln along the banks of the Mississippi River north of Ste. Genevieve. There have been provisions included in the company's plan to protect against pollution of the river.

"We are very excited," said Nancy Tully, a spokesman for Holcim. "We believe this reaffirms what we and supporters have said all along ... we will be providing good-paying jobs in an environmentally sound way."

The plant could eventually employ as many as 200 workers in the production of cement. While the proposed plant has strong support from local businesses and the general community, it has drawn opposition from environmentalists.

The quarry and plant would be developed on a 1,600-acre tract of land just south of the Jefferson County line. The land is expected to provide a sufficient supply of limestone for operation of the plant for the next 100 years. Limestone is the main ingredient of Portland cement.

A harbor on the Mississippi River is also part of the project. It would be needed to bring in coal to fuel the kiln and also to haul the finished product from the plant in barges.

The company has been going through the state and federal permit-gathering process for several years.

Storm water permit

The DNR has approved another step in the permitting process for Holcim's proposed Ste. Genevieve County cement plant. The state agency recently gave final approval to Holcim's plans to control storm water run off at the plant.

According to Holcim spokesman Nancy Tully, Holcim will use a number of proven methods to reduce the effects of run off during heavy rains. The project will include storm water sedimentation basins, which will allow sediment to settle out of run off after heavy rains, before the water is returned to area rivers and creeks. Also, the company will use vegetation, silt fences, straw bale filters, and other accepted practices to prevent additional run off.

The granting of the storm water run off permit comes on the heels of the DNR issuing a draft approval of the air quality permit for the Ste. Genevieve plant.

At the peak of the construction phase, the $600 million project will employ about 1,000 construction workers. When the plant begins operations, it will have about 200 full-time employees and a $10 million annual payroll.

Once the permitting process for the plant is complete, construction of the project is expected to take approximately 36 months.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: