DEQ fines Southern Oregon Ready Mix for polluting air

A $9,000 fine for violating air pollution regulations has been levied against Southern Oregon Ready Mix in Central Point.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality found the company exceeded the amount of particulate matter it discharged into the air on 14 different days between June 24 and Sept. 16, 2009.

The company is allowed to emit up to 49 pounds per day, but plant records show it released from 60.5 to 81.2 pounds on the days it violated the regulations.

Southern Oregon Ready Mix LLP has appealed the penalty.

Esther Westbrook, environmental law specialist with the DEQ, said the amount of emissions from the plant is tied to the amount of production on any given day.

"It's just a result of higher production on those days," she said.

The DEQ and Ready Mix lawyers are scheduled to meet to discuss the penalty informally.

"They want to sit down and talk to us and explain their circumstances," Westbrook said.

The portable asphalt plant is at 6960 Blackwell Road in Central Point.

Wayne Kauzlarich, environmental specialist for the DEQ, said the dust released from the plant is calculated based on the amount of production the plant undertakes.

The production is in enclosed machinery that is permitted to let a certain amount of dust to be released on a daily basis.

The plant is subject to more stringent environmental rules in the Medford area than it would be in much of the rest of the state because of air quality concerns.

Kauzlarich said the DEQ has informed the plant how much it can produce per day to avoid future penalties.

"They've been real cooperative with the whole situation," he said.

An official with Southern Oregon Ready Mix was out of town and could not be reached for comment.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 776-4476, or e-mail

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