For Immediate Release
June 17, 2010

KDHE Office of Communications
communications@kdheks.gov, 785-296-0461

KDHE and EPA Renew Hazardous Waste Permit for Ash Grove Cement

After extensive public participation and comprehensive technical evaluation, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 7 (EPA) have agreed to renew the Hazardous Waste Permit for Ash Grove Cement Company located in Chanute.  Ash Grove began burning hazardous waste as fuel in 1988 and built a new kiln system in 2000. The new kiln system allowed cement production to triple without any significant change in the usage of hazardous waste fuels.

The renewed permit allows Ash Grove to continue storage of hazardous waste in containers and in tanks and to burn hazardous waste in the cement kiln.  The permit also contains technical and regulatory requirements to protect public health and the environment.

A public information meeting regarding the facility and draft permit and a public hearing were held on December 3, 2009 in Chanute.  KDHE and EPA thoroughly reviewed all spoken and written comments and prepared a comprehensive responsiveness summary and made minor modifications to the draft permit.  These documents are available at www.kdheks.gov/waste/p_pubnot_hw.html and at the Chanute Public Library.

KDHE’s Division of Health, in coordination with the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), is reviewing pertinent health and medical information to respond to health concerns raised by residents of Chanute during the public comment period. A report on findings will be prepared by early fall 2010, and a public meeting will be scheduled in Chanute to present those findings. Based on the findings and recommendations of this review, KDHE will provide information to the community and make appropriate recommendations to ensure protection of public health and the environment. In addition, if the assessment demonstrates the need for changes to the Ash Grove permit, KDHE and EPA can initiate the regulatory process to make appropriate modifications. 

Additional information regarding this permit can be obtained by contacting KDHE at (785) 296-1600 or by e-mail, bwmweb@kdheks.gov.