Update History

Historical Updates, Benchmarks & Announcements



04/29/2011 California Regional Water Quality Control Board San Francisco Bay RegionComplaint No. R2-2011-0023 (Complaint) [plus other attached documents] issues an administrative civil liability (ACL) against the Lehigh Southwest Cement Company (Lehigh) in the amount of $10,000. This liability is based on allegations that Lehigh discharged sediment-laden water to Permanente Creek that may also have been polluted by cement plant operations at its 24001 Stevens Creek Boulevard, Cupertino facility.

Sediment-laden discharges with potential pollutants from an industrial process are a direct threat to potential receptors. The discharges have deleterious effects on aquatic environments and a variety of aquatic organisms. Some of the most significant impacts from increased turbidity and sedimentation in surface waters include: (1) reduction of light penetration and decreased rates of photosynthesis (food generation) within the food chain; (2) reduction in the respiratory capacity and feeding efficiency of fish; and (3) smothering of aquatic habitats decreased survival rates of hatchlings and juvenile species.

Public comment hearing will be held on July 13, 2011.  Not sure of time or place yet

Latest News: Water Violation

Other documents:


COMPLAINT NO. R2-2011-0023



Lehigh Mailing List

Winter 2011 or beyond

Public Hearing on the new County 20-year Permit for the new Quarry

Summer 2011

East Material Storage Area Public Hearing on the EIR

03/25/2011Deadline Notice Inviting Written Public Comments regarding Lehigh’s Title V Permit applicationSubmit comments to BAAQMD before deadline
02/8/2011 Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors (SCC BOS) Vested Rights Hearing
01/18/2011 SC County Staff Report: “Permanente Quarry Legal-Nonconforming Use Analysis” for February 8, 2011 Hearing
Nov. 2010 The Cities of Los Altos and Los Altos Hills have expressed concerns about Lehigh’s intentions to expand their mining operation.  Los Altos Hills is putting a draft Resolution regarding Lehigh Cement Plant’s East Material Storage Area (EMSA).


Cement Industry files lawsuit against EPA for new Toxic Air a Pollution standards

The Portland Cement Association (PCA) has filed a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to cut toxic air pollution from cement kilns. According to the EPA, these cuts would avoid up to 2,500 premature deaths every year and result in up to $18 billion in health benefits.


EPA releases new Toxic Air a Pollution standards amendment to the Clean Air Act

EPA formally announced an amend its national emissions standards for Portland cement manufacturing to reduce emissions of mercury, total hydrocarbons, hydrochloric acid and particulate matter from both new and existing cement kilns.


The Cupertino City Council  had a special study session to review a report from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and discuss air quality regulation, standards and monitoring issues relating to Lehigh Cement.

BAAQMD described the NOVs they and the EPA had issued Lehigh and the corrective actions being taken to correct the violations.

You can view exert videos of City Councilman Barry Chang’s questions to the various agency spokesmen.


Dr. Donald Yee of the San Francisco Estuary Institute gave a present of results of their study of Mercury Emissions from the Lehigh Cement Plant at DeAnza

The study, funded by the EPA, found that when the plant was operational, mercury deposited by precipitation was about six times higher at the study site than at the control site. When plant operations were minimized, mercury deposited by precipitation was about equal at the sites. To quote from the study’s conclusions, “Hg [mercury] emissions from the cement plant do not all enter the global circulation cycle and undergo long-range transport; Hg is also deposited within the vicinity of the cement plant through wet deposition.”

Hg species (total mercury, methylmercury, reactive mercury) in precipitation were investigated in the vicinity of the Lehigh Hanson Permanente Cement Plant in the San Francisco Bay Area, CA., USA. Precipitation was collected weekly between November 29, 2007 and March 20, 2008, which included the period in February and March 2008 when cement production was minimized during annual plant maintenance. When the cement plant was operational, the volume weighted mean (VWM) and wet depositional flux for total Hg (HgT) were 6.7 and 5.8 times higher, respectively, compared to a control site located 3.5 km east of the cement plant. In February and March, when cement plant operations were minimized, levels were approximately equal at both sites (the ratio for both parameters was 1.1). Due to the close proximity between the two sites, meteorological conditions (e.g., precipitation levels, wind direction) were similar, and therefore higher VWM HgT levels and HgT deposition likely reflected increased Hg emissions from the cement plant. Methylmercury (MeHg) and reactive Hg (Hg(II)) were also measured; compared to the control site, the VWM for MeHg was lower at the cement plant (the ratio = 0.75) and the VWM for Hg(II) was slightly higher (ratio = 1.2), which indicated the cement plant was not likely a significant source of these Hg species to the watershed.

Chinese World Journal article about this presentation study.


Cupertino City Council vote to allow BAAQMD to place an air monitor station at Linda Vista Park

In a unanimous vote City Council voted to have an air monitor station placed in the parking lot at Linda Vista Park for 1 year where air and particles will be monitored 24 hrs. to measure levels for potentially toxic emissions from Lehigh Southwest Cement plant.  BAAQMD will analyze and report on the results.  This site is approximately 2 miles from the cement plant.  Since there are other sources of pollution measured, emissions will most likely be difficult to pin down as coming from Lehigh.  However if significant amounts of hazardous pollutants are detected this can be used as a basis for further investigation.  This proposal was initiated by Councilperson Barry Chang.


Cupertino City Council voted on draft of Letter to BAAQMD on May 4th, 2010

Cupertino City Council voted 4 to 1 in favor of sending a letter championed by Councilperson Barry Chang, a strong proponent of community health/safety and environmental awareness, to BAAQMD urging them to mandate that Lehigh Cement should construct a Single Stack for its exhaust and that EPA’s Proposed NESHAP (amended toxic pollution standards which include mercury) for cement plants be adopted even if the final rules were to eventually have looser limits.  This is the first time that the City of Cupertino has taken a stand in support of residents who have been complaining about toxic pollution from the Lehigh Southwest Cement Plant for years.  This letter was the inspiration of Councilman Barry Chang who ran and was elected for his strong stand on  the health and safety for residents and the environment.  Mayor Kris Wang was the only dissenting vote.


Lehigh Quarry Scoping Meeting

The Public was asked by the County for comments and suggestions regarding the scope of an amendment to the Reclamation plan as a result of violations for placing overburden onto an unauthorized disturbed area at the East boundary of their property nearest Cupertino city limits.  This meeting was required by law.

This event was televised and a video stream is on the City of Cupertino’s website.




Santa Clara County Notice of Violation for pollution from water runoff to local creeks and land.


EPA Notice of Violation for upgrading facility from 1995-1997 without doing a “Prevention of Significant Deterioration” to maintain NOX and SO2 levels within Clean Air Act levels.


Cupertino City Council Special Meeting

10350 Torre Avenue, Community Hall Council Chamber next to Library
Tuesday January 12, 2010
Purpose: Study session to help City Council understand regulations governing Lehigh Cement Plant pollution.
Various government agencies have been invited to describe their roles.  The public will comment at the end of formal presentations.  We encourage the public to attend this important meeting.


BAAQMD formally withdraws Lehigh Southwest Cement Company’s Title V permit renewal until EPA’s National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) has finalized new requirements (also referred to as EPA proposed rules) some time in the first half of 2010.  These new and tougher requirements will be incorporated into the Title V permit.  They have also taken public comments into consideration.  This is a victory for all those who have fought so hard against Lehigh’s Title V renewal in 2009.
Chinese World Journal News (.pdf)
Chinese Singtao News (.pdf)


Lehigh Cement Indicates to BAAQMD how it indents to address the EPA amendments to National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP).  Lehigh outlines trial experiments it intends to perform to reduce toxic emissions.  See also Answers to Frequently asked Questions from Lehigh.


EPA announced its proposed amendment to the National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) for Cement plants that include mercury limits due to lawsuit from Earthjustice.  The is subject to review and scheduled to be formalized some time in the first half of 2010.


Earthjustice Wins Lawsuit against EPA – Due to appeals from local group and other organizations Earthjustice filed a lawsuit against EPA to address loopholes in the law allowing cement plant liberal toxic emissions.  A federal appeals court ruled that a rulemaking by the Environmental Protection Agency violates the Clean Air Act by evading mandatory cuts in toxic mercury pollution from coal- and oil-fired power plants.

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