Shelly Asphalt: What's the problem?
on Shelly Asphalt Plant # 91
Asphalt plants release toxic air emissions, sickening odors and heavy dust
into the surrounding neighborhoods. The plants use waste oil to heat sand
and gravel, and then mix the aggregate with liquid asphalt from refineries.
The plants usually have several storage tanks and aggregate storage piles
on site. Asphalt plants in Ohio have been able to operate under old standards
and get away with excessive pollution because they are poorly regulated
by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. Pollution from these plants
includes volatile organic compounds and sulfur dioxide. These compounds
can impact our developmental and reproductive organs as well as the central
nervous system. Some organics are suspected or known to cause cancer. There
are more than 300 asphalt plants in Ohio, all of which contribute to increased
air pollution in the state.
Doesn’t the Ohio EPA take care of this?
Heres how the asphalt plants avoid tighter restrictions
on air pollution: when they fail their stack emission tests and do not meet
compliance with their old permits, the Ohio EPA simply grants them a new
With each new permit, plants are allowed to release higher
levels of emissions and pollute more. Does the Ohio EPA really think this
is in the best interest of the surrounding communities?
In 2002, the Westerville asphalt plant failed its stack
emissions tests. The plant released twice as much volatile organic compounds
and sulfur dioxide than its permit (known as a "permit-to-install")
allows. Despite this major violation, the plant continued to operate without
compliance with its permit-to-install for more than two years.
No adequate control equipment exists at the plant to control both gaseous
emissions from the stack and fugitive emissions from open sources such as
silos, storage tanks, and piles.
Campaign Progress: Community group forces changes
at the plant
With the help of Ohio Citizen Action, Westerville neighbors
formed an environmental watchdog group, Citizens for Clean Air (CCA), in
April 2004, to pressure Shelly to reduce pollution and eliminate odors.
Neighbors began keeping pollution
odor logs and documenting
malfunctions at the plant.
Ohio Citizen Action and Citizens for Clean Air have already made significant
progress. The month of August marked a campaign milestone when Shelly decided
to withdraw a proposed new permit, which would have allowed them to increase
their air pollution. Other important developments in the campaign so far
- Neighbors met with the President and Vice-President of
the Shelly Materials and made recommendations on how to reduce pollution
and eliminate odors. The Shelly management acknowledged the odor problems
and made a commitment to work on the air issues.
- The company invested, according to their own estimate,
almost $200,000 to improve their asphalt-making process. This included
installing a new burner and a vapor recovery system. However, this has
not helped eliminate the odors.
- The Shelly Company conducted and passed a voluntary stack test in June 2004.
- The Ohio EPA fined Shelly Materials for surface water
violations and ordered the company to stop illegal discharges from the
truck washing operations in September 2004.
- In response to public pressure, the U.S. EPA launched
an investigation of Shelly and other asphalt companies in Ohio.
- In October 2004,
at a meeting with Westerville neighbors, President of Shelly Materials
informed the group of a proposed joint venture between Shelly and Kokosing
companies (each has their own asphalt plant in Westerville). The joint
venture would enable both companies to make asphalt while operating
just one plant in Westerville. This would significantly cut down emissions,
odors, and other environmental concerns. The neighbors are still waiting
to hear more details about this proposed joint venture between Shelly
and Kokosing. Citizens for Clean Air expressed strong interest in being
part of the planning stages for the joint venture to ensure the community's
interests are represented.
Please write the Shelly Company
Daniel J. Montgomery, President
Shelly Materials, Inc.
80 Park Drive, P.O. Box 266
Thornville, OH 43076
Ask him to --
- Become a good neighbor by working with Citizens for Clean Air to
- Provide information and invite Citizens for Clean Air to sit in on
the planning stages for the proposed joint venture between Shelly and
- Respond to your letter.
For more information or to get involved, contact
Simona Vaclavikova, Columbus
Area Program Director, Ohio Citizen Action, (216) 861-5200.