Several community members, including Alan Blaylock, Fort Worth District 10 council member, and Northwest ISD board President Steve Sprowls, spoke out against a proposed concrete batch plant at a Texas Commission on Environmental Quality meeting April 15.

The details

The TCEQ held a meeting at Timber Creek High School in Fort Worth to allow residents and other stakeholders to give feedback on a proposed concrete batch plant at 13001 Old Denton Road, along the SH 170 frontage road. Approximately 100 community members, including several elected officials, were present to voice their opposition to the project.

The applicant, TOR Texas, LLC, already operates a business, The Organic Recycler, adjacent to the proposed site. Tim Sansone, managing partner at TOR, was present at the meeting along with Melissa Fitts, senior vice president of permitting and compliance with Westward Environmental Inc., who serves as a consultant to TOR. They both fielded questions from audience members.

Sansone said while the application filed with the TCEQ would allow the plant to operate 24/7 and produce up to 100 cubic yards of concrete per hour, the plant would operate at a lower output level. He added that being able to operate 24/7 meant if a customer needed concrete for an early morning pour, then they would be able to run operations late at night to fill the order.

Fitts said there is often a misconception about concrete batch plants and larger cement plants.

“Cement plants, such as those you see in Midlothian, are considered federal major sources,” Fitts said. “Concrete batch plants, like the one proposed by TOR, are smaller operations that are considered state minor sources.”

Fitts said TOR is taking all of the necessary precautions to ensure they comply with TCEQ regulations when it comes to reducing dust emissions, including:
  • Spraying down stockpiled sand and rock with water
  • Storing cement in silos that are completely enclosed and vented to dust collectors
  • Sheltering gravity feeders where material is loaded into mixer trucks on three sides
  • Featuring suction trowels that are vented to a central dust collector for gravity feeders
By using these emission reduction tools, Fitts said the proposed plant would meet the TCEQ’s requirements that concrete batch plants capture and contain 99.5% of particulate emissions.

On the other hand

Numerous community members spoke out against the proposed plant, saying it is too close to neighborhoods, apartment buildings and schools.

Dwayne Marshall and his wife, Jana, have lived in the nearby Saratoga neighborhood for 17 years. The Marshalls, who are realtors, are concerned about quality-of-life issues, including breathing in particulate matter that would be emitted and property values should the plant be allowed to operate at the proposed site.

“We understand that development has to take place, but good development has to take place,” Marshall said.

He added that there are already several concrete batch plants nearby in Keller and Roanoke.

“How many concrete plants do we need?” Marshall said. “Isn’t there a more suitable location closer to where the development is taking place?”

What they’re saying

Blaylock, who, along with Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker and Texas Rep. Nate Schatzline, opposes the project, said he would work with TOR to find a more suitable location for the plant.

“We can do better than what is currently proposed, [which is] surrounded by Northwest ISD and Keller ISD schools, preschools and day cares,” Blaylock said.

Blaylock added, beyond concerns that particulate matter emitted from the plant could penetrate deep into the lungs and bloodstream, causing increased risk of respiratory ailments, increased traffic, noise and possible damage to taxpayer-funded streets were also concerns.

Sprowls began his comments by reading from a resolution the Northwest ISD board of trustees passed at its April 8 meeting opposing the plant.

He said the district’s fourth high school, which is under architectural design, will be built just across SH 170 from the proposed concrete batch plant site. The school will house approximately 3,400 students, and have outdoor sports year-round and marching bands practicing outside in the fall. Sprowls added that two elementary schools and a middle school are located in the area with one more elementary school on the way to being built.

“With about 8,000 students in the immediate area, air quality concerns are big for us,” Sprowls said.

The permit is still in the public comment phase, according to TCEQ staff. For individuals who wish to comment on the project, the window will be open until April 17 at midnight.