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You are here: Home / Agency / Working with Us / Environmental Permitting: Participating in the Process / Air Permit Applications / Standard Permit for Concrete Batch Plants: Learning More

Standard Permit for Concrete Batch Plants: Learning More

Learn more about following our progress and your options for participating as we review applications for plants authorized under the Air Quality Standard Permit for concrete batch plants. Find out how a batch plant operates and how this permit calls for the plant's operators to keep dust under control.

 

What is a concrete batch plant?

First of all, a concrete batch plant is not a cement kiln. People often confuse one for the other.

A concrete batch plant adds measured amounts of sand, cement, and gravel to a large mixing drum to prepare concrete mix. This mix is much like the bagged concrete you can buy at any home improvement store.

There are two types of authorizations for a concrete batch plant:

  • Plants producing large amounts of concrete are authorized by New Source Review (NSR) permits.
  • Plants producing smaller amounts are authorized by a Standard Permit or a Standard Permit with Enhanced Controls. These permits limit the size and operation of the concrete batch plant.

We receive the most questions about smaller plants authorized under the Standard Permit. For these plants, the concrete mix is usually fed with water into a concrete truck. The truck finishes mixing the wet concrete on its way to a construction site.

These plants have:

  • One or more silos to hold the cement—and sometimes a silo for cement supplement, too.
  • A large drum raised high in the air. These drums usually look like a big square funnel on stilts, high enough for a concrete truck to park beneath it.
  • Piles of sand and gravel.
  • Conveyors to feed the cement, sand, and gravel to their silos or to the mixing drum.
  • Roads on the property for the concrete trucks—and for the trucks that deliver the sand, gravel, and cement, too.

The silos are the tallest part—sometimes as tall as 40 feet.

With the roads, structures, and piles of sand and gravel, the whole plant would fit on about five residential lots. But this size can vary.

What will this permit do?

The cement used in a concrete batch plant is naturally dusty. When the raw materials are delivered and when they are mixed, there is a chance that blowing dust can be a nuisance. To limit this nuisance, we developed specific requirements for concrete batch plants to follow under this Standard Permit.

Whenever there is dust, we are also concerned about very small forms of dust—particles small enough to get past our body’s protections and into our airways and lungs. Even though very little of the dust from cement is that small, the measures called for by this Standard Permit also prevent this smaller dust from blowing off the property.

The Standard Permit requires the plant operators to control dust these ways:

  • Keep the cement in completely enclosed silos.
  • Keep the mixing equipment, stockpiles, and silos away from the property lines.
  • Add cartridge or bag filters to the silos, so the air that is pushed out when they are filled doesn’t carry dust with it.
  • Enclose the cement conveyor belts, so dust doesn’t blow away as the cement is moved to the silos or mixing drum.
  • Use filters called baghouses where the concrete is mixed and where it is dropped into the trucks. Like large vacuum cleaners, these filters suck the dust out of the air before it can blow away.
  • Spray down the plant roads and stockpiles.
  • Take other measures when needed to minimize dust from other sources.

By obtaining this permit, the owners and operators of the concrete batch plant agree to follow its requirements.

Concrete batch plants might be noisy or increase traffic. We do not have jurisdiction to consider these nuisances when approving a permit. If you are concerned about these issues, contact your city, county, or other local authority.

Who is applying?

When you see a public notice about a permit application, look at the first paragraph to find the name of the applicant.

If you do not see the notice published in a newspaper, you can find public notices on our website:

What else can I learn about the applicant?

You can learn about this applicant and their plans by contacting them directly. The last paragraph in the public notice will tell you how to contact the applicant.

We also have ways you can learn about this applicant's history with us — for example:

  • Other facilities they have permits for
  • Other businesses they are related to
  • Their environmental track record

How can I learn what other people think about this?

On our website you can search for information about comments others have made about this application. Under Step Three be sure to choose "Include all correspondence...".

What if I have more questions?

Our Public Education Program can help you find the status of applications and tell you more about our permitting processes.


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How can I follow the progress of an application for this permit?

Below is the basic process for a standard permit application for a concrete batch plant.

Please note that due to the great number of different scenarios possible, we cannot cover all the details that could potentially apply. Here we give a basic description of your rights and responsibilities if you wish to become involved—just be aware that variations can occur.

  • Notice: Publication of the Notice of Receipt of Application and Intent to Obtain Permit. We call this notice a "NORI" (norry). When our administrative review of the application is complete, we mail the NORI to the permit applicant for publishing. The applicant is required to post a sign at the proposed location of the facility as well and also publish the NORI in a language other than English if the school closest to the proposed facility is required to offer bilingual education. We also mail the NORI to a required mailing list of government officials and certain landowners.

    The NORI will tell you where you can look at a hard copy of the permit application.

    Once we mail the NORI, you may start giving us your comments. You may also request a public meeting or a contested case hearing (see Request a Contested Case Hearing, below), or request to be added to the mailing list for future notices.

    The public comment period typically ends 15 days from the publication date of the NORI. The publication date is significant because we only consider timely filed comments. The end of the comment period is also the deadline to request a public meeting or a contested case hearing, unless a timely filed hearing request is filed within those 15 days (see below).

    However if our executive director has scheduled a public meeting for a later date, the comment period will be extended until the end of that public meeting. For assistance in determining the extent of the comment period, call 800-687-4040.

    See more details on the NORI.
    See how to get added to the mailing list.

  • Making public comments.If you make a comment, you will get a response from us. Here's how it works:
    1. We gather all the comments given to us by the end of the public comment period and respond to all timely and relevant comments.
    2. When two or more people make the same comment, we put their comments together and make one response to that group of comments.
    3. When we have responded to all comments, we put all comments and our responses in a document called our "response to comments."
    4. We send this document to everyone who submitted a comment or requested to be put on the mailing list for future mailings.

    See more details on this part of the process, including how to make a comment

  • Requesting a public meeting. In a public meeting, you may ask our staff and the applicant your questions and give comments.

    Anyone may ask for a public meeting any time between the date the NORI is mailed and the end of the comment period (see “Notice” above).

    See more details on this part of the process.

  • Protesting our executive director’s decision to issue the permit. Before the comment period ends, there are two common ways to ask the commissioners to consider your protest:

    • Request a contested case hearing. With this you are requesting that the commissioners refer the matter to the State Office of Administrative Hearings. A SOAH hearing is conducted in a manner similar to civil trials in state district court.

      Your hearing request must be based on a timely submitted public comment. You must also include a description of how you would be adversely affected in a way not common to the general public.

      See more details on this part of the process.

    • File a Request for Reconsideration. With this you are requesting that the commissioners reconsider the ED’s decision.

      See more details on this part of the process.

How can I learn when these events happen?

Search: Commissioners’ Integrated Database
Call: 800-687-4040
E-mail: pep@tceq.texas.gov

 

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