CA Cement Plant Has One of Nation's Highest Mercury Emission Levels

"TEHACHAPI, Calif. -- At the end of an empty road just north of Highway 58 and past the outfield wall of an abandoned high school looms the towering Lehigh Southwest Cement plant -- a behemoth kiln that belches mercury and other toxics into the air, as it has for decades."

"After a round of publicity and public outcry in 2006 over mercury contamination from the plant, Lehigh's emission rates for the deadly chemical plummeted.

But now, the mercury emissions have spiked back up to some of the highest in the nation.

The Lehigh Tehachapi plant produced 872 pounds of mercury in 2010, according to the Environmental Protection Agency's Toxics Release Inventory data – the most of any cement plant in California and the second-highest among all cement plants in the United States. In 2007, mercury emissions had dropped to 144 pounds, and then began climbing again."

Sam Pearson reports for the Center for Investigative Reporting's California Watch February 8, 2012.

Source: California Watch, 02/09/2012