Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!


A TYPICAL DAY AT THE CEMENT PLANT - DURING 2005 TYRE BURNING TRIALS?

CEMEX ARE TO APPEAL THE £400,000 FINE.
ODD: NEITHER THE AGENCY NOR CEMEX SEEM TO HAVE MENTIONED THE INCIDENT TOOK PLACE DURING TYRE TRIALS; OR EVEN DURING TYRE BURNING EQUIPMENT "COMMISSIONING" TRIALS?

ENVIRONMENT AGENCY QUOTE:

"Dry cement and some raw materials used to produce it are dusty materials; it is not surprising therefore that FUGITIVE EMISSIONS OF DUST ARE AN EVER PRESENT HAZARD" - FOR RUGBY RESIDENTS!

QUESTION ONE:
WHY THEN DID THE ENVIRONMENT AGENCY, WARWICKSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL AND RUGBY BOROUGH COUNCIL COLLUDE, WITH RUGBY CEMENT, TO MISLEAD AND TO HIDE INFORMATION FROM RUGBY RESIDENTS, IN ORDER TO PERMIT THE CONSTRUCTION AND OPERATING OF THIS INCREASINGLY MONSTROUS ENVIRONMENTALLY AND HEALTH DAMAGING CO-INCINERATOR AND INDUSTRIAL BEHEMOTH ON TOP OF RUGBY PEOPLE?

From the Court attendance and case transcript as far as one can make out it would appear that this is what happened.

There were they say 60+ complaints for a "potential impact level three pollution incident".

According to the EA summary on the Public Register they HAD been burning tyres on 14th October 2005 but that had stopped TWO HOURS before the event.

Why had they stopped burning the tyres? Possibly because the plant was becoming unstable?

QUESTIONS:
2. How long does it take for the tyres to get completely out of the kiln system?
3. WHY are HOW are tyres SO DANGEROUS that they have to stop burning them during upset conditions?
4. But why are oil and coal (and petcoke) not considered as too dangerous at that time of instability and upset?
5. According to this case they cannot stop the plant "for any reason" as it would produce an even greater impact. Is that correct?
6. They got this £400,000 fine for ONLY burning oil and coal - how much more would it have been if the Judge knew about the tyre trials?
7. Why did the EA and Cemex not tell the Judge the TRUTH that it was during the tyre trials - or as they NOW try to say one year AFTER the event that the incident was "during the plant commissioning" for the tyre trials?
8. What caused the plant instability in this case? We know that any change causes instability, and that is why it is one of the CRITICAL SUCCESS FACTORS that the plant must NOT have more instability during waste burning.
9. How are the public to find out if it is more unstable, or not?
10. How many hours/days a year is the plant running with NO EMISSION LIMITS AT ALL?
11. At other plants where they change the fuels and combinations every day there are these upsets even more frequently - leading to a massive increase in particulate and exposure. Is this the future for Rugby with the application now in for household and commercial waste as well?
12. How can the public know what is being burnt at the co-incinerator?
13. The reason Rugby Residents took the EA to court was about the way they had HIDDEN the particulate emissions and refused to allow us to talk about them - both from main stack or low level sources. They said that tyre burning wouldn't increase particulate, nor increase the smaller more health damaging PM2.5 emissions - but it seems it does; and so does any change and CHEMICAL IMBALANCE! See REJECT CLINKER increase in DUST EMISSIONS and increase in SMALLER PARTICLES. Next will be climafuel and that will vary in substance as well.
14. Even the tyres vary no end - what sort of tyres were they using, and when? There are MANY varieties and chemical compositions!!


FROM COURT TRANSCRIPT and SENTENCE:
"Cemex failed to ensure an external door 100-150 feet off ground to clinker silo was maintained in good operative condition breaching condition 2.1.2 of the August 12th 2003 PPC Permit contrary to regulation 32:1B. The permit contains STRICT CONDITIONS enforced by CRIMINAL SANCTIONS which control and limit the specified activity. No person shall operate an installation EXCEPT TO THE EXTENT GRANTED BY THE REGULATOR. There was also a second information that is 'effectively the same sort of matter coming from a different direction'; it just relates to a different condition, so we felt it right and proper to accept the plea on the basis that that was part of the count one."

"This unpleasant material was not expected to escape in the QUANTITIES it did escape and to settle up to 4.5 kilometres away."

"The permit breach presented, we submit, a SIGNIFICANTLY increased adverse health risk to exposed population. Of course the word SIGNIFICANT is an ELASTIC term, and we mean it to mean simply NOT INSIGNIFICANT".

"On 27th July 2005 a FORMAL WARNING had been issued to Cemex relating to
SEVERAL BREACHES of the PERMIT. 12 August 2004; 12 and 15 November 2004,
when operated by RMC."

" 15 September 2005 - "a highly visible fugitive emission of brown dust" was investigated by the Agency who found "the best actual means were being operated at the site, that was not that there was not an offence committed. It does mean that it gives the Agency a strong view that it was NOT NECESSARY to pursue a case in relation to that particular matter."

"Total number of complaints 66."

"Another complaint with dust samples taken - is another incident."

AGENCY: "I believe there have been FUGITIVE EMISSIONS IN THE PAST which have resulted in complaints being made, BUT NO FORMAL ACTION was taken. It is not controversial that there have been properties in the past relating to that offence at the time in that area. And many complaints have been made to the Agency as a result of it. But it would be UNFAIR to go into any further observation of that point." AGENCY: "They should have fixed the door and piece of cladding right away, or if it was not fixed right away they should not have been operating the system until it was fixed."


Testing showed that the material that escaped was "POTENTIALLY VERY HAZARDOUS and TOXIC STICKY CLINKER DUST" and "CLINKER COURSE MATERIAL".
Describes impact of "contact with sweat, or tears, causing a strong alkaline solution that can damage nerve endings before damaging the skin, and therefore chemical burns can develop without pain being felt at the time." "Handling moist clinker may cause both irritant and allergic dermatitis, and so protective clothing must be worn; dust must be prevented from entering gloves, boots or protective clothing; and exposure to moisture must be avoided; and escape of fugitive dust must be prevented." PM10 evidence was NOT considered at Rugby Magistrates and has been included since and Amanda Gair and Professor Harrison have agreed a position after a meeting.


14th October 2005.

0600 kiln stop for repair due to "instability in the system."

0830 A walker says that dust is "swirling out of the reject tower".

1000 The same walker reports it is "still coming out intermittently", and phones the Agency and Cemex.

1030 EA call Cemex.

1310 door found to be "hanging off hinges" and "defective cladding two feet square" on reject silo at top. Cemex employees pushed back door in place leaving a 1 inch gap.

1400 kiln restarted.

AGENCY: "And the starting-up process then produced very high levels of dust emissions. There had been instability in the system throughout this period which is why of course it was stopped for repair. As a result of the start-up process the emission levels were well above 55mg/m3. High level of stack dust recorded 630 mg/m3. "The reason it's not in a sense a criticism is this, because the Agency allow for, or in start up allow for, 200 tonnes per hour dry feed to be produced BEFORE there's a beach of condition. And therefore when there's a start-up problem of 630mg/m3 they would not take action in relation to that, although it is fair to say that high levels of dust concentration were present and may be present, and there was instability in the system creating a further potential hazard, which of course again is not controversial. Cemex knew about it. They knew about the external door. But of course at this point they are producing reject clinker as well. This of itself does not cause a problem, but material going into the reject silo with the door open of course causes problems. At 7.00 pm the system itself was shown to be unstable."


1810-2000 "Graphs show that the clinker dust fell into the reject clinker silo between 1810 and 2000 on the 14th October and at various times from 0100 to 0850 on the morning of the 15th October. And he agreed there was lots of airborne dust. Some 614 tonnes of reject clinker was produced. There is a reference rate to dust in relation to the reject clinker - 2.2 grams a second equivalent to 8 kilos of PM10 each hour. At ten minute kiln flush rate quoted as 4.55 grams a second. This is worst case scenario post the kiln flush. Professor Harrison worked them out - this is not contentious. We do not know precise figures but 70 kg of PM10 was produced. The other figure for Total particulate matter was 7.35 tonnes. We do not know the true figures but there must have been a substantial amount to cover that distance, to cover that number of cars, to cover window sills."


JUDGE: "Just remind me of the time period that has been used for the calculation of the 70 kilograms."

AGENCY: It's about 12-15 hours. (takes advice) OH I'm told it is the FULL TWO DAYS."

AGENCY: " Reject clinker comprises particles of a wide rang of sizes including some PM10 which is of relevance to human health. The portion of smaller particles is greater in the reject clinker and during 14th and 15th October emissions of PM10 particles will have arisen from three sources: The KILN STACK; EMISSION FROM THE REJECT CLINKER SILO; AND ENHANCED EMISSIONS FROM REJECT SILO DURING THE KILN FLUSH THAT LASTED TEN MINUTES.

Dispersion modelling shows a breach of the 24 hour air quality objective. But it might not have reached that particular area. Health impact of PM2.5 and PM10 pollution as in this case: That health impact increases with increasing exposure, and with the range of many concentrations there is no demonstrable threshold of concentrations below which neither of these health effects occur. That is the difficult thing with this material. YOU SIMPLY DON'T KNOW!

JUDGE: I could interpret that as meaning any exposure is potentially harmful.

AGENCY: You'd be right to accept that. The problem here is that there is this risk which is both potential and indeed actual because of the material released. Any demonstrable increase could have that effect. Consequently an increase in concentration as predicted implies and increased adverse health risk in the exposed population."
"Cemex were in breach of strict conditions and put the public, at risk as well as creating a nuisance."


1900 kiln "system shown to be unstable again".
1945 kiln stopped, due to a kiln flush caused by a build-up of raw materials, which caused a "rush of cumulated material passing rapidly through the kiln into the clinker cooler. This is then diverted away from main CLINKER SILO into the REJECT CLINKER SILO. 7.35 tonnes of TSP emitted, and an estimated 70 kg of PM10. Gair report shows emission rate from stack of 4.55 grams a second which she said was double what it should be - being 2.2g/s. This was said to be a rate of 8 kilos PM10 an hour.

"Kiln flush forced a lot of hot raw meal through the kiln's cooler. The impact of this was the cooler grate hydraulic pumps tripped due to the weight of material on the grate affecting the sheer pins on the cooler Electro-static precipitator, so an ESP trip took place and there was dust emission into the cooler building. There was a minor fire in the cooler building and the spillage was too hot to clear up. The fine clinker dust from the flush escaped into the atmosphere on light wind SEVEN MILES per hour overall - to stick to properties 3.5 miles away.

FOOTNOTE: (this seven mile per hour wind quoted was not correct - wind speeds and directions were shown to be variable, and very low at that time about 1 metre per second which is about 2 mph)


10-2000 About 230 tonnes reject clinker was made.
2000-0000 "By midnight there had been 175 tonnes reject clinker produced, but the kiln had been stopped at 0600 so there was, as I understand it, no clinker produced after that up until midnight."



15 October 2005:
0100-0850 a lot of reject clinker made.
0235 a further 175 tonnes reject clinker made.
0300 a loud bang was reported by a resident to Cemex. "It's been much dustier than under normal conditions" says Cemex employee. An employee of Cemex visited the home of the complainant.


0830 dust found all over the rabbit hutches and cars. Many complaints to the Agency and Cemex from Long Lawford and Church Lawford. Shift manager took sample.

1000 MANY complaints to the Agency. Also one complaint on 16th at 11.45 that vening. The EA investigated the complaints and found them all to be totally justified. EA interviewed a Cemex employee: "The only information I can offer is that the dust may have come from the very small gap that's left remaining around the door and the small hole in the cladding could also have caused it." "Dust was confirmed on analysis as cement clinker dust. The source is the reject clinker silo."
1400 door effectively repaired.
1400 a total of 614 tonnes reject clinker had been made.

AGREED between Amanda Gair and Professor Harrison:
1. The offence.
2. The subsequent breaches resulting in public complaints.
3. Not agreed : to check doors each shift.
4. History of complaints arising from FUGITIVE dust releases, "so the defendant should have been better on guard".
5. Potential risk to human health.


KILN FLUSH:

AGENCY: "A kiln flush is a result of a chemical imbalance. Materials build up internally in those very large steel tubes, and builds up and builds up to level where it has GOT TO GO and it GOES WITH A FURY. And then there material comes straight through the system and goes into the system and out and through and into the REJECT CLINKER SILO."

JUDGE: "So a kiln flush is an event that can be anticipated being in the sense of it being a NATURAL RESULT of the process?"

AGENCY: "It can be anticipated, but it can't actually be seen."

JUDGE: " Kiln flushes are regulated by ENSURING THE CORRECT CHEMICAL BALANCE in the process., which reduces the likelihood of a kiln flush occurring", and reduces the likelihood of the material sticking.

CEMEX: have "Put in place procedures to try to reduce risk; not to eliminate it. Kiln flushes can occur, that have to be dealt with as best as possible. The company is being prosecuted for not properly checking a door, which on that particular day was aggravated by a kiln flush which is something beyond their control. The reality was that they could not have done anything about the kiln flush itself, and that undoubtedly did aggravate the size of the particles."

JUDGE: "So you would argue that whilst accepting there was pollution by Cemex on 14-15th October 2005 clearly other industrial producers around the area were creating a nuisance?" CEMEX:" We contributed less to the overall exposure than the background pollution arising from other sources. Dust released from the cement works would have increased PM10 and PM2.5 concentrations but any adverse health impact would have been small in relation to the factors arising from long term exposure to particles arising from other sources."


CEMEX: "This was not a case of profit being put before safety. It was relatively speaking a short-lived incident. Cemex did, AT LEAST, a temporary measure at about one o'clock on 14th October, leaving a gap of about one inch around the door. They could not repair it properly as the shift was ended. They completely repaired the door by two o'clock on the next day. Cemex had to continue to operate because hot materials were on the conveyor belts and within the kiln there is potential for significant and costly damage to occur. Irrespective of this the dust will need to be cleared from the cooler. The only option is to transfer it to the reject clinker silo. It was considered the chance of dust being released was remote.

It was a weighing up in the balance and a miscalculated risk in these circumstances rather than thinking "Hang it we'll go ahead." They had hot materials on the conveyor belt which had to be dealt with otherwise there could have been significant risk to the plant, something much more serious than we are dealing with now. There was potential health hazard to that."


CEMEX: "Why continue production when you know there is any fault? There would be three factors essentially playing:

1. Profit in this sense - if the hot materials had been allowed to remain on the conveyor belt the kiln would have completely collapsed and been destroyed completely shutting the plant.

2. There would have been a risk, albeit by all counts minimal, but a risk employees could be injured.

3. Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, there would have been a VAST DUST EMISSION by the complete collapse of the plant in operation. They did a temporary repair, and there is not a kiln in the world that can withstand having hot materials on it while they wait for a repair to be done. It has to be dealt with. There is not a system in the world that they can put in place as it were to temper the situation. So even if they could have had the repairs within three hours they would still have had to keep the kiln operating. The breach was as a result of inadequate checks rather than none. We claim it was a) inadequate and b) it was at worst misinterpreted."



CEMEX: " I've printed off from the Environment Agency a Community Forum Summary simply to show that when the EA last year were assuring the public they were working together with Cemex and there have been some positive improvements although some difficulties, which have been outlined. There is little doubt that Cemex is a controversial company so far as local residents are concerned, which is why there are local community forums held on a regular basis."

CEMEX: "We have undertaken improvements to try to keep flying dust to a minimum, but I daresay the problem will not be completely eliminated."


JUDGEMENT:

The clinker dust was potentially hazardous and toxic; health impact of exposure to PM10 and PM2.5 increases with increasing exposure, an there is no demonstrable threshold concentration below which no adverse health effects occur. Anyone dealing with this material should take all forms of protection possible, because it is a severe eye irritant, and can cause effects on skin, and by ingestion of inhalation.

Environmental Checks were not completed: Fugitive Dust 6.5.1 "An inspection should be made of the whole site for any fugitive dust emissions. Any adverse findings should be acted upon and actions taken should be noted in the comments sheet.

It is incumbent on Cemex to ensure the plant is kept in as safe a condition as possible because of the potential ramifications of an escape of dust give, at times, the unstable nature of the process with which it is involved. Aggravating feature here is not just the imperfect repair but the fact that the kiln was restarted again at 2 o'clock. It is obviously part o the starting up process that a substantial quantity of dust emission is produced. That much is accepted by the Environment Agency and it is known that this would be beyond a certain level, but allowances are made as part of the start-up process.

There was an accepted risk of further instability in the kiln that manifested itself later that day. I am critical of Cemex for the lack of prompt repair once it had identified the problem. In my judgement this bespeaks a SLOPPY ATTITUDE in the first place; a sloppy attitude towards inspection of external doors such as this one. No regular inspection system, it was obviously insufficient, and there was no, or no adequate record keeping, of inspections. Previous warnings to Cemex or its predecessors have gone unheeded. Cemex was alive to previous complaints from residents and had had formal contact with the Environment Agency about previous problems of dust emission. My attention has been drawn to the substantial number of operational improvements which have either been put in place or it is intended to put in place over the course of this year and next. These include a daily door check and a specific door check sheet. Cemex say the incident was short-lived but it is clear from what has occurred that we are dealing with a period of 24 hours and probably in excess of that. Cemex have pleaded guilty and have apologised to the Community.

"We come to my conclusions about the appropriate penalty to impose. I have had to consider obviously the criminality, the seriousness of the offence against a back ground of what has occurred both directly in relation to the offence, and in the past, concerning the warnings and the operation of the plant. I impose simply a financial penalty on Cemex. I impose a fine of £400,000. In my judgement Cemex brought the prosecution on themselves. They had an opportunity to introduce expert evidence which could have been introduced before. I do not accept that the late arrival of Professor Harrison's report was enough to have warranted an adjournment. Equally if there was some force in that argument it was still open for Cemex to have produced written material, if they wished to rely upon it as they now do, at that hearing in August. Bearing in mind the amount and notwithstanding the obvious substance of the company I will allow time to pay and the fine and costs will be paid by close of business on Friday 10th November."

1 comment:

Roger Wytham said...

And a happy new year to you!
Good to see you back and fighting. Keep it up!