DEM Cites Cranston Company For Ongoing Air and Water Violations at Concrete/Quarry Facility

PROVIDENCE RI (2/7/2020) – The Department of Environmental Management (DEM) has issued a Notice of Violation (NOV) to PJ Keating Company for environmental violations arising from the mining and processing of rock, sand, and gravel and the manufacture of concrete at its facility in Cranston. The company operates the quarry mining and processing facility at 875 Phenix Avenue and leases a portion of the property to Cullion Concrete, which operates the concrete facility.

The NOV charges PJ Keating Company with violations of Rhode Island’s Water Pollution Act, the Water Quality Regulations, RI Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (RIPDES) Regulations, Fugitive Dust Regulation, and Emissions of Air Contaminants Detrimental to Person or Property Regulation. The enforcement action includes a $66,250 penalty.

“DEM is committed to holding accountable any entity that fails to comply with state laws and regulations protecting clean air and water,” said Terrence Gray, Deputy Director for Environmental Protection. “The company’s actions have created a major impact on the air quality and water quality of the surrounding community. They need to take the measures required by our enforcement action and come back into compliance as soon as possible.”

While conducting air compliance inspections of the facility in 2018, DEM observed violations of the fugitive dust and emissions regulations on five separate occasions. Specifically, dust was observed traveling onto Phenix Avenue as trucks exited the property on July 31 and August 1, and although a water truck was in use, it was ineffective in preventing dust from migrating beyond the property. Dust was observed at the entrance to the property and on Phenix Avenue on August 8 and August 9, and trucks exiting the property were observed carrying material in the grooves of their tires onto Phenix Avenue. On August 28 dust was observed at the entrance to the property and on Phenix Avenue; although the water truck was watering the inside of the property and the sweeper truck was sweeping up and down Phenix Avenue, these measures were ineffective in preventing dust from migrating beyond the property.

During another inspection on March 26, 2019, dust from the processing equipment was observed blowing onto the Cranston Department of Public Works facility located nearby. DEM’s inspector noted a light accumulation of dust on the armrest and windshield of his vehicle about an hour into the inspection. The dust irritated the inspector’s eyes and he began to feel and taste the dust on his teeth and in his nose and mouth. The inspector also observed a sporadic plume of dust coming from the top of the conveyor belts of the stone processing equipment that was heading toward the Cranston DPW facility. On July 10, 2019, DEM observed dust at the entrance to the facility and on Phenix Avenue and noticed that trucks exiting the property were carrying material in the grooves of their tires onto Phenix Avenue.

At each inspection, DEM notified the company that adequate measures to control air pollution and fugitive dust were not being taken. DEM issued a Notice of Non-Compliance and Requirements for Corrective Actions the company for each inspection date, thus putting it on notice that it had failed to comply with fugitive dust and emission regulations.

In addition to the air pollution violations, DEM has cited the company for failure to comply with its RIPDES permit. The RIPDES permit authorizes the company to discharge process water and stormwater from its facility to an unnamed tributary to Furnace Hill Brook. The company is required to meet limits for monthly average and maximum daily concentrations for suspended solids (TSS) of 25 parts per million and 45 parts per million, respectively. PJ Keating Company discharged water with TSS levels that exceeded the permit for five consecutive quarterly periods from December 2017 through December 2018.

DEM’s enforcement action orders the company to take immediate necessary corrective actions to ensure that airborne matter or fugitive dust is not migrating beyond the property’s boundary from all operations conducted at the facility; and within 30 days submit a comprehensive Particulate Matter Control Plan to DEM that identifies all potential sources of airborne particulate matter associated with the facility operations and the best management practices and other actions that can be taken to prevent dust from migrating beyond the property. The company is required to implement the plan within 20 days of DEM’s approval and complete corrective work within 60 days.

PJ Keating Company is entitled to request a hearing before DEM’s Administrative Adjudication Division within 20 days of receipt of the NOV.

For information on DEM programs and initiatives, visit www.dem.ri.gov.

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