Essroc Cement’s New Fuel Raises Concerns

Essroc Cement Corp. is applying for an Indiana state environmental permit to burn liquid waste-derived fuel in one of its cement kilns in the unincorporated Clark County community of Speed, the News and Tribune reported. The fuel is repurposed from used products such as antifreeze.

Indiana Department of Environmental Management spokesman Barry Sneed said the agency has decided to hold a public hearing on the cement plant’s plans because of “several requests” for one, though it isn’t required to do so. A date has not been set.

Sneed also stated that the Indiana Department of Environmental Management believes complying with permit requirements “will assure human health and the environment are protected.”

Essroc Corporate Environmental Engineer Luis Rodriguez said the company welcomes the public’s questions. The company hosted an open house and talked with community leaders in 2014 before it submitted its application.

“We actually want it to go to public comment so we can answer some of these questions,” Rodriguez said. “We’ve wanted to be as upfront on this as possible.”

Liquid waste-derived fuel is commonly used in the cement industry. Mike McHugh, the Speed plant’s director, said Essroc plans to use products mostly from the petroleum industry, such as paint thinners, antifreeze and acetone. The plant will have to build two small storage facilities for it to start replacing about 25 to 30 percent of the coal it burns with liquid waste-derived fuel.

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