New tech breath of fresh air

Last week, officials from the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, leaders with the city of Calera and employees at LaFarge North America&8217;s Roberta plant all got together to celebrate an important milestone.

The manufacturer celebrated becoming the first cement plant in the state to start using a new system that will cut down on the amount of air pollution LaFarge makes and releases into the atmosphere.

Called a Non-Catalytic Reduction system, the technology reduces the amount of NOx the plant releases into the air. NOx, or nitrogen oxide, is one of the primary components of smog.

The company should be proud of its accomplishment and has cause to celebrate.

Shelby County, along with Jefferson County, has for years struggled to meet federal air quality standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency.

While most of the blame can be put on our big polluting neighbors to the north, we still have environmental issues we need to deal with right here at home.

Shelby County’s grade for ozone pollution remained an &8220;F&8221; this year, according to a report released in April by the American Lung Association. The ranking shows that the county still has some of the dirtiest air in Alabama.

The good news in Calera came just a week after ADEM announced it was suing the city for pollution from its wastewater treatment plant. More than 10,000 gallons of oil from the Alabama Power Company were discharged into Camp Branch, a tributary of the Coosa River.

LaFarge should be congratulated on implementing the new technology. Hopefully, other business leaders willtake the initiative to be good stewards of the environment