(CN) - Cemex de Puerto Rico Inc., a major cement producer, will spend $1.7 million on pollution controls and pay a $160,000 fine to settle claims its operations violated the Clean Air Act.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, which announced the settlement on Thursday, Cemex's kiln system in Ponce, Puerto Rico has operated for over 20 years and is a major source of nitrogen oxide emissions.
Nitrogen oxide is a problem because in addition to contributing to the formation of ground-level ozone, and fine particle pollution, it is linked with a number of adverse health effects, including increased instances of asthma.
The settlement addresses modifications Cemex made to its cement plant without obtaining the proper permit, as required by the Clean Air Act, the EPA said.
Businesses that produce large quantities of air pollution are required to obtain permits and install pollution control technology before making changes that would significantly increase emissions, the agency said.
Following an EPA inspection, Cemex conducted a smokestack test at its Ponce facility and potential violations were discovered. Under the terms of the settlement, CEMEX will install control technology, which will reduce annual emissions of nitrogen oxides by approximately 1,423 tons per year.
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