Building a hot mix asphalt next to suburban homes in Rancho Calaveras may benefit county tax revenues but what harm will it cause to local people and wildlife?
What environmental impact reports have been submitted to the county and state and Federal Environmental Protection Agency for the local public to review?
Most residents who do not regularly attend county meetings may not be fully aware of the potential harm that they and their children could be exposed to from toxic asphalt plant emissions. Where will prevailing winds carry the toxic emissions? What is the potential impact of emissions on wildlife around the asphalt plant location next to New Hogan Reservoir and the nearby river?
The primary emission sources associated with hot mix asphalt production are the dryers, hot bins and mixers, which emit particulate matter and a variety of gaseous pollutants. Other emission sources found at hot mix asphalt plants include storage silos, which temporarily hold the asphalt; truck load-out operations, in which the asphalt is loaded into trucks for hauling to the job site; liquid asphalt storage tanks; hot oil heaters, which are used to heat the asphalt storage tanks; and yard emissions, which consist of fugitive emissions from the asphalt in truck beds.
Emissions also result from vehicular traffic on paved and unpaved roads, aggregate storage and handling operations and vehicle exhaust. The particulate matter emissions associated with hot asphalt production include so-called PM-10 pollutants made of particles measuring less than 10 micrometers in diameter and PM-2.5 measuring less than 2.5 micrometers. There are also hazardous metals and organic compounds. The gaseous emissions associated with hot asphalt include carbon monoxide and volatile organic compounds. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, epa.gov/ttnchie1/ap42/ch11/related/ea-report.pdf, the emissions from an asphalt plant can include potential carcinogens such as naphthalene, 2-methylnaphthalene, acenaphthene, acenaphthylene, anthracene, benzo(a)anthracene, benzo(a)pyrene benzo(b)fluoranthene, benzo(g,h,i)perylene, benzo(k)fluoranthene, chrysene dibenz(a,h)anthracene, fluoranthene, fluorine, indendo(1,2,3-cd)pyrene, phenanthrene, pyrene, acetaldehyde, benzene, ethylbenzene, formaldehyde, quinone, toluene, and xylene.
All the readers of the Calaveras Enterprise and all the citizens of the county deserve full public awareness of the potential hazards from the proposed asphalt plant!
James Van Sant