Capitol to Apo Cement: Explain spike in carbon monoxide emissions

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CEBU (Updated)--The Cebu Provincial Government is giving APO Cement Corp. at least three weeks to explain as to why there were spikes in the results on their Continuous Emission Monitoring System (CEMS) test from August 1 to Sept. 1, 2019, even though they are already using alternative fuel.

Apo Cement Corp., during their meeting with Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia on Monday, Sept. 16, failed to explain as to why the carbon monoxide (CO) emissions in their plant in the City of Naga have exceeded air quality standards.

“There are emissions. So that means, you do not even monitor; you did not explain. Had you seen this, you will have ready answer for me now. What use is this online emission data when nobody is even analyzing it?” said Garcia.

Carbon monoxide is a common industrial hazard resulting from the incomplete burning of material containing carbon such as natural gas, gasoline, kerosene, oil, propane, coal, or wood. CEMS, according to Aavos Int., was historically used as a tool to monitor flue gas for oxygen, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide to provide information for combustion control in industrial settings.

They are currently used as a means to comply with air emission standards.

The Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) 7 said based on the CEMS test result for the average of continuous data within 24 hours, the level of CO emission of APO Cemex is still within or below the guideline values.

Engr. William Cuñado, EMB 7 director, said the only problem was that why were there erratic results in the hourly basis of the CEMS test.

“Definitely, based on our data, safe gihapon atong air quality. Ni question lang nganong there are erratic results that happened. Ang problema lang kay they were not able to convince the governor on what is the explanation of some erratic or some exceedance in the results, in the hourly basis,” Cuñado told SunStar Cebu.

Cuñado said the guideline value for Sulfur dioxide (within 24-hour averaging) is at 1500 milligrams per cubic meter (mg/Nm3); the Nitrogen Oxide is at 1500mg/Nm3; the particulate matter is at 150 mg/Nm3, and the CO is at 500 mg/Nm3.

Cuñado noted that on Aug. 3, 8pm, APO’s CO emission level in line two is at 532.47 mg/Nm3 while on Aug. 26, 7pm, the CO emission was at 562.15 mg/Nm3.

“When it goes beyond, it exceeds, of course you are exceeding the standards, when you exceed the standards, you’ll be subjected to penalties (within the 24-hour average data). Guideline value stands for the tolerance, the tolerable amount for health and environment status,” he said.

However, he said, as of now, they do not have a guideline or a policy yet in terms of CEMS hourly emission exceedance.

“But for the hourly, basis wala tay guidelines kung unsay penalties ana, penalty or probation, but they have to explain those,” he said.

“For me, kinahanglan jud og naay policy. It’s purpose is for us to know kung unsa ju’y real emissions of the company in every hour of their operations. Mao nay angay nga himoan og bag-ong policy as to that effect. Kung unsay consequences sa company nga naay CEMS if naay exceedance sa standard in hourly,” he added.

In a statement sent to SunStar Cebu on Tuesday, Sept. 24, officials of APO Cement said they understood the concern of the governor and assured to “work closely with their regulators and remain transparent to their stakeholders”.

“APO Cement is compliant with existing laws with respect to air emission standards. We emphasize that the daily average of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and carbon monoxide (CO) emissions of the Plant are well within the standards as provided by law. The spikes in the CO were due to the use of alternative fuel that is in line with the EMB policy. It bears noting that these isolated incidents are caused by the impact of high moisture content of locally-sourced materials which are utilized by the Plant as part of its initiatives to undertake environmentally sustainable processes,” reads a portion of the final statement they sent as of 8:29 pm. (SunStar Cebu)


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