Asphalt plant gets tentative approval

State to hold two hearings this week on proposed northern Arundel facility

July 12, 1999|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,SUN STAFF

State environmental officials have given preliminary approval to a Quebec company's proposal to build a $10 million asphalt manufacturing plant near Curtis Bay in northern Anne Arundel County.

The proposed site near 6000 Pennington Ave. is in a heavily industrial area, and was previously owned by Crown Central Petroleum Corp.

The state's Air and Radiation Management Administration has tentatively decided to approve the application for a construction permit filed by the company, Bitumar Inc.

Emissions data

Emissions released as part of the manufacturing process for a Bitumar product -- called Ecoflex asphalt cement -- are within limits set by state and federal environmental agencies, according to the permit application.

The department has scheduled public hearings on the project for Wednesday and Thursday -- one in Anne Arundel County, the other in Baltimore because of the plant's proximity to the city, said Dorothy Guy, a senior policy assistant in the Air and Radiation Management Administration.

She said the department will not make a final decision on the construction permit until considering comments from the public.

"All of the [projected] emission levels are below the limits that are allowed under most federal and state regulations, and we have required things like testing after the equipment is up and running to measure those emissions," Guy said.

The Baltimore hearing will be held at 6: 30 p.m. Wednesday at the Brooklyn branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library, 300 E. Patapsco Ave. The county hearing is scheduled for 6: 30 Thursday evening at the Brooklyn Park library, 1 E. 11th Ave.

County Councilwoman Pamela G. Beidle, who represents northern Anne Arundel County, has not received any calls about the proposal, her assistant Kathy Sauble said.

Beidle plans to attend the county hearing, Sauble added. "She wants to get all of the details that she can."

Cost savings

Bitumar's director of operations, George Alexander, said that a Baltimore-area plant would allow the company to operate more efficiently in the mid-Atlantic region.

"We already sell many of our products in this area, and transportation costs between Montreal and Baltimore are significant," he said. "We decided it would be more economic in the long run to establish a facility in this area."

Alexander said he plans to employ about 20 people at the plant.

Bitumar makes asphalt used in roads and roof construction. The manufacturing process recycles granulated rubber from used tires into asphalt.

The company's proposed Baltimore plant, to be called Bitumar USA, is based on its facility in Montreal.

According to the company's permit application, the plant would produce an asphalt mixture through an oxidation process. The asphalt would be stored in tanks, then trucked to customers.

Toxic fumes generated by manufacturing process would be blown into a pollution control device, called an "afterburner," which operates at 1,400 degrees.

`Like a huge heater'

"It's like a huge heater, and it essentially destroys most of the emissions through a burning process," Guy said.

Bitumar's Montreal plant can produce between 50,000 tons and 75,000 tons of asphalt annually, according to company literature. The company's clients include public transportation agencies.

Pub Date: 7/12/99

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