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Owners of Portland Cement Plant in Martinsburg, West Virginia to Pay More Than $1.5 Million Penalty for Air Pollution Violations

Contact Information: 
David Sternberg (
(215) 814-5548

Contact: David Sternberg (215) 814-5548

Owners of Portland Cement Plant in Martinsburg, West Virginia to Pay

More Than $1.5 Million Penalty for Air Pollution Violations

PHILADELPHIA (April 18, 2019) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that Lehigh Cement Company LLC and Argos USA LLC have settled alleged Clean Air Act violations at a portland cement manufacturing facility in Martinsburg, West Virginia.

In an administrative consent agreement, Argos (the plant owner since December 1, 2016) and Lehigh, the successor to Essroc Cement Corp. the prior plant owner, have agreed to pay a $1,505,309 penalty related to alleged violations of the plant’s Clean Air Act operating permit and federal restrictions on hazardous air pollutants from portland cement plants. 

“This settlement demonstrates that EPA will hold accountable companies that fail to comply with operating permits that set forth requirements for protecting public health and the environment,” said EPA Regional Administrator Cosmo Servidio.  “Communities have a right to be protected from hazardous air pollutants, and EPA continues to ensure those protections.”   

The violations occurred from 2013 through 2016, spanning a change in the facility’s corporate ownership. From 2009 until June 30, 2016, the facility was owned and operated by Essroc. On July 1, 2016, Lehigh’s parent corporation HeidelbergCement AG acquired Essroc’s parent corporation Italcementi S.p.A. Argos, the current plant owner, acquired the facility on December 1, 2016. EPA cited the companies for various Clean Air Act violations based on responses to EPA information requests and data collected and reported under the plant’s permit. 

The alleged violations include:

  • Exceeding annual emission limits for total suspended particulates and fine particulate matter less than 10 micrometers in diameter.

    Non-compliance with opacity testing, monitoring, reporting and recordkeeping requirements and exceeding opacity limits.

  • Failing to comply with requirements for operating a kiln that is subject to dioxin/furan emission limits.

  • Failing to perform required stack testing on the kiln’s exhaust in a timely manner to determine compliance with emission limits for total suspended particulates, fine particulate matter, and volatile organic compounds.

  • Having prohibited visible emissions from manufacturing-related storage structures.

  • Failing to install, operate and maintain continuous emission monitoring for hydrochloric acid in a timely manner.

While Lehigh and Argos were cooperative in negotiating the administrative consent agreement, neither party, as part of the settlement, admitted liability for the alleged violations.