After closing its Dixon, Ill., plant in December 2008 amid economic downturn, St. Marys Cement will reopen the facility this spring, according to local media outlets.

The company said the decision to reopen is based on increased demand from an improving economy. Since January necessary routine maintenance has been performed at the plant. The company hopes to have the facility staffed by the end of March, and operations resuming shortly thereafter with all required environmental permits in place.

At the time of the closure, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had fined St. Marys Cement and co-owner St. Barbara Cement $800,000 for violations of the federal Clean Air Act. The settlement also called for the companies to spend nearly $2 million to upgrade pollution control on three of its four kilns. The fourth kiln had to be replaced or shut down.

EPA said the companies had illegally modified the kilns at the Dixon plant in a manner that increased harmful sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions. In addition to failing to install the proper pollution-control equipment, the companies were cited for failing to get the proper permit before making modifications.


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