• Cyburbia is a friendly big tent, where we share our experiences and thoughts about urban planning practice, planning adjacent topics, and whatever else comes to mind. No ads, no spam, no echo chambers. Create your FREE Cyburbia ID, and join us today! You can also register through your Reddit, Facebook, Google, Twitter, or Microsoft account.

Environment Asphalt manufacturing plant: time to panic?

Midori

Cyburbian
Messages
751
Points
12
I've got an asphalt plant going in with zero review from the local authorities (no zoning 8-!). What are the environmental concerns here? Is this cause for panic and furtive glances to the environmental lawyers and calls to the legislators, or do we quit our NIMBY whining and pull our pants up? My biggest concern is that there is no public water in the surrounding area. If the ground water goes bad, that's what everyone's drinking. Is that a legitimate worry with asphalt plants?

You'd think this plus recent events in Texas would provide an opportunity to talk about some minimal zoning or at least site plan review, but I'm not holding my breath...
 

giff57

Corn Burning Fool
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
5,407
Points
32
I wouldn't worry too much. Most asphalt plants just mix up pre-made ingredients and do not cause many problems.
 

boiker

Cyburbian
Messages
3,890
Points
26
I would be worried most about the smell.
Agreed.

There's also environmental consideration with regard to oil tanks. Building code and the local DEQ should take care of these issues. The smell is the most annoying part of these uses and usually it varies day to day depending on how the wind blows.
 

mike gurnee

Cyburbian
Messages
3,066
Points
30
Is it an asphalt recycling operation? If so, I would want to know where the materials came from. It could contain hazardous materials. Your state environmental people may be a help. I stopped one once. Never found out about whether hazardous materials were involved; it just didn't feel right. Perhaps it was all the guys from PA in leisure suits and with names that ended in vowels. Perhaps because it was temporary: a trailer rather than a structure, no water nor sanitation, only one created job. But we had zoning, and this would have been a conditional use.
 

UrbaneSprawler

Cyburbian
Messages
436
Points
13
Yesterday's asphalt and gravel plant pits on otherwise ordinary land become tomorrow's lakes and ponds, creating habitats for species and jurisdictional wetlands, and in turn, the developer want for the construction of subdivisions nearby (requiring asphalt and the circle of life continues!)
 

Midori

Cyburbian
Messages
751
Points
12
Is there usually "excavation" involved in these? It looks like the town officials (at least some of them) want to fight this, or at least test the legal grounds. I may need to become a pseudo-expert.
 

Tide

Cyburbian
Messages
2,715
Points
22
I wouldn't worry too much. Most asphalt plants just mix up pre-made ingredients and do not cause many problems.
Agree, if it's just what they call a batch plant they will bring in all the raw materials and mix it there on spot. My guess is there's some highway job going on nearby. However, if this is an asphalt manufacturing plant you have many air quality concerns.
 

Midori

Cyburbian
Messages
751
Points
12
But who will think of the children!!? :-c

Actually, it was hypothesized to me that the plant was merely moving dirt around to try to draw a lawsuit and get a payout. 8-! Bait not taken, thank you.
 

Plan_F

Cyburbian
Messages
64
Points
4
Asphalt Plant Regulations . . .

AZ the guy above mentioned, the state's often regulate these. Below is a checklist excerpt from TennDEC. It's a good overview because it is short and asks the essential questions—


Typically, asphalt plants that have an asphalt drum dryer, one or more asphalt cement tanks, a waste oil tank, a diesel tank, and/or an emergency generator will need to deal with several environmental concerns that include: air emissions and fugitive dust. These environmental factors are addressed by an air quality permit, air emissions control equipment, noise abatement equipment, restricted hours of operation, and proper watering to minimize fugitive dust.

Dust from open areas, often called “fugitive” dust, is a form of air pollution. Many hot mixed asphalt plants use water or various types of chemicals as surface treatments to help control fugitive dust. The following outlines some of the water quality issues you should consider when using surface treatments (other than water), so your air-pollution solution doesn’t turn into a water pollution problem.
(more ...)​


Turns out dust is often a big issue.

...Actually, it was hypothesized to me that the plant was merely moving dirt around to try to draw a lawsuit and get a payout. ...
How would they be gunning for a payout here ?
 

Midori

Cyburbian
Messages
751
Points
12
How would they be gunning for a payout here ? [/SIZE]
If they could draw the county into trying to block them, they have a legal cause of action to file (equal protection, due process, takings, whatever) and may get at least a settlement, if not a judgment with monetary damages. It's a pretty daffy plan, imo, but I've heard of weirder.

Seems easier to me to find an actual venture that makes money from producing something useful, but hey, that's just me maybe...
 
Top