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TXI Riverside Cement pays $1M for hex-chromium in dust

by Formerly healthy pair of lungs Friday, Oct. 17, 2008 at 11:39 AM

After many years of residents' exposure to carcinogenic hexavalent chromium particulates found in their cement dust, TXI corporation of Riverside agrees to a 1 million dollar settlement for the damages they caused.

TXI Riverside Cement Company to pay $1M

Liset Marquez, Staff Writer

Article Created: 06/25/2008 09:13:02 PM PDT

RUBIDOUX - TXI Riverside Cement Co. will have to pay $1million in penalties and reimbursement fees to the South Coast Air Quality Management District, as part of an agreement to reduce the amount of an airborne chemical found in the area.

"This is a giant stride in finally getting the issue resolved," said Barry Wallerstein, the AQMD's executive director.

The two parties reached the settlement agreement late Tuesday, nearly three months after the AQMD identified the company as the source of the pollutant, hexavalent chromium, found in high concentrations around the facility.

Compliance with the 13-page agreement will become part of the requirements to maintain the company's operating permit from the county, he said.

Frank Sheets, communications and governmental affairs manager for TXI, said the cement company has been working with AQMD officials for nearly a month to reach the settlement.

"It's satisfactory for us that we've come to a resolution to enhance the dust abatement," Sheets said.

TXI Riverside Cement Co. will have to pay $200,000 to the AQMD for costs it incurred in the course of the investigation into the pollution.

The cement company will also have to pay $400,000 in penalties and another $400,000 will be used for modernization of the facility to further reduce dust emissions.

TXI Riverside Cement Co. has 30 days to identify and submit a list to the AQMD of projects that will bring the plant into compliance.

Elevated levels of hexavalent chromium were detected in Rubidoux during a five-month AQMD investigation earlier this year. In April, the AQMD identified the cement factory as being responsible.

As part of the agreement, the cement company will be required to provide monthly updates on cleanup efforts at residences and businesses within a quarter-mile of the company site.

Facility officials must also submit by July 15 a cleanup plan to reduce dust emissions of gray clinker, the main material in gray cement. Wallerstein said the elevated levels of the hexavalent chromium were found in the dust of gray clinker, which was stored in open piles on site.

The company has until Aug. 15 to remove the majority of the open piles of gray clinker and must be in full compliance by Nov. 30. Storage buildings at the facility will be modified to enclose the clinker, Sheets said.

The company will also have to install a new conveyor-belt system to help prevent dust emissions, Wallerstein said.

For the next six months, the cement company must hire additional staff whose sole duty will be to provide continuous on-site environmental monitoring.

The cement company will also have to maintain a wind-monitoring system, which could stop activity at the facility if wind levels are detected above acceptable levels.

"We're going to do the best we can to meet all of the agreement," Sheets said."

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PS - For all the settlement monies gained from polluting corporations like TXI, we still haven't found a way to buy people back to life : (

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