Breakdown in Baghouse at CEMEX-Lyons

When I saw it, I ran to the house and loaded my camera. The stack at CEMEX was erupting and whatever was spewing out had already formed a significant and substantial plume of dark-grey matter. For several minutes, I stood on the patio and took photos of this environmental nightmare. Then, I went into the house and left a voice message for Jason Long, inspector for the Colorado Air Pollution Control Division.
Inspector Long returned my call this morning. CEMEX had reported to him that there had been a rupture in the baghouse that lasted 15 minutes resulting in increased opacity at the stack. CEMEX was forwarding additional information to the air division and possibly an upset report. Upon receipt of this report, the air division would evaluate it and accept or deny CEMEX's explanation.
You may request a copy of CEMEX's explanation by contacting Jason Long at You may also request a copy of the explanation from Mrs. <a href=" Hoefler at
In the process of writing up my notes and photo-documenting this incident, a memory file in my mind entitled, "cement plant," got activated. I find myself reflecting on the cement plant's history of violations attributed to poor operating practices, its staggering history of violating air pollution control laws, and its brazen spin to the public - even spinning in the shadow of a Notice of Violation issued by the USEPA for an alleged violation of The Clean Air Act. My mind begs the questions: are we ever going to get the BEST from this plant; are we ever going to benefit from CEMEX installing technology that will reduce NOx and other emissions by 80%, are we ever going to see accountability for negligence?
Is cost-effectiveness the bottom line?
"My name is Judy Koslov and I live at 12220 North 75th Street, Longmont, which is in Hygiene, Colorado. I am a member of the CEMEX CAP, Staff Engineer at Sun Microsystems, and Assistant Clinical Professor of Biostatistics at the U. of Colorado Health Sciences Center. I have a Ph.D. in Applied Math from CU Boulder.
At one of the CAP meetings, while John Lohr was the plant's general manager, an opacity upset was reported. The corrective action was to replace a bank of worn-out bags in a bag house. These bags, we were told, had a known expected life and they had given out at about the time that their wear-out would be anticipated.
As a long-time reliability engineer, I asked why CEMEX did not do preventive maintenance and proactively replace the bags before an upset occurred. Mr. Lohr answered that it was more cost-effective to wait until the opacity was such that there was an upset and then do the replacements. Respectfully submitted, Judy Koslov" (Testimony before the Colorado Air Pollution Control Commission)

Richard Cargill, St. Vrain Watchdogs
Why not the BEST?

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