Quarry Fined for Clean Air Violations

By ecoRI News staff

BRADFORD, R.I. — Copar Quarries, which operates a local rock quarry, has agreed to settle claims by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that it violated federal clean air standards. According to a complaint filed by EPA’s New England office, Copar Quarries failed to conduct the required emissions testing, keep proper inspection log books and notify the agency when it began operating several pieces of equipment in 2011.

Copar was fined $80,000 and ordered to correct the violations identified by EPA. Copar operates a portable stone-crushing and gravel-processing plant with several crushers and screeners. Copar’s facility operates on about 150 acres near residential properties.

With the capacity to crush more than 150 tons of stone an hour, Copar is subject to the federal standards established under the Clean Air Act for non-metallic mineral processing operations. EPA asserted that the company violated these standards by failing to notify the agency when it started operations and by failing to do the required emissions testing. In addition, the company didn’t keep a log book of inspections and corrective actions on its wet suppression system designed to control emissions of particulate matter and reduce dust.

Exposure to particulate matter air pollution — in this case stone dust — can aggravate lung disease, causing asthma attacks and acute bronchitis, and may also increase susceptibility to respiratory infections, according to the EPA. For people with heart disease, particulate matter air pollution has been linked to heart attacks, irregular heartbeat, heart failure and stroke.

Copar has since corrected the violations identified by EPA, which will help to reduce Copar’s emissions of particulate matter to the air in the surrounding community, according to EPA officials.