AUSTIN (KXAN) — The state agency in charge of regulating air quality in Texas held the first of three hearings across the state Wednesday about changes in how permits are issued for concrete batch plants.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) is considering an updated Air Quality Analysis (AQA). According to a TCEQ press release, the updated AQA would show emissions at an authorized plant would not violate National Ambient Air Quality Standards, exceed a state property line standard or adversely affect human health and the environment.
Wednesday’s hearing gave residents the opportunity to ask officials questions about the changes. Bonnie Evridge with the TCEQ’s air permit division outlined different kinds of permits companies can use, including air quality authorizations.
Air quality authorizations can be permitted for “specific facilities that have similar operations” and use the same pollution control equipment, Evridge said. Companies who apply to register and operate under the standard permit must meet all the permit’s requirements.
Any company that applies for a standard permit will undergo administrative and technical reviews from the TCEQ and, if the review is successful, the applicant company would then publish a public notice and post signs around the property to alert the public.
“[The TCEQ will] determine what pollutants are emitted and the appropriate way to conservatively calculate the emission rates and estimate the potential emissions from each source,” she said, adding TCEQ staff will then conduct an air quality analysis to consider possible site impacts.
When testing standard permits, TCEQ’s Dan Jamieson said they run tests to mimic both urban and rural communities, picking the higher of the two results for a more conservative estimation.
“Currently, what we’re looking at is updating the protectionist review for the concrete batch plant standard permit,” he explained. “We’re looking at updated emission rates which could be related to different controls or different emission factors.”
The standards permit isn’t the only option needed for a concrete batch plant to get authorized. The last time the TCEQ visited its protectiveness review for the standard permit was in 2012, Evridge said.
So far, TCEQ officials said they don’t have any air quality analyses from their protective review available yet. More information on that process will be available in the TCEQ’s background document once the protectiveness review is finalized.
This is the first of three meetings planned regarding the change. A second meeting will be held in person on Monday from 7 to 9 p.m. in Houston. It is on the first floor of the East Aldine Management District Office on East Aldine Amphitheatre Drive.
The third meeting is in person on Tuesday from 7 to 9 p.m. in Arlington. It will be in the City of Arlington Council Chambers on West Abram Street.