MILTON-FREEWATER — Milton-Freewater’s Humbert Asphalt Inc. was fined $4,400 in July by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality for violating its Air Contaminant Discharge Permit at its hot-mix asphalt paving plant last year.

Humbert Asphalt violated its permit by exceeding two separate federal and state limits on air pollution, which are in place to protect the general health of the public. If exceeded, particulate emissions can contribute to respiratory problems and cause serious health problems with the heart and lungs.

The DEQ reported Humbert Asphalt exceeded its limits of larger particulates and total emissions, which the corporation communicated to the agency last October after failing an air quality test required by its permit. According to DEQ Public Affairs Specialist Laura Gleim, the test showed larger particulate emissions were five times the limit and total emissions were double the limit.

Humber Asphalt declined to comment when contacted on Wednesday.

DEQ said in a press release it took into consideration that the corporation had shut down the facility when assessing the fine, though the issued amount is determined by a formula related to the degree of violation.

Humbert Asphalt, which was notified of the civil penalty on July 8, paid the fine in full last month.

The original plant was manufactured in 1954 before being modified in 1999 to add a new, larger pug mill, which is used to mix asphalt. The facility’s specific federal air contaminant limit was outlined in its permit since it had been built or modified after 1973.

Previously located at 84899 Highway 11 in Milton-Freewater, the plant was closed at the end of May. Humbert Asphalt has since opened a new plant, which is outfitted with a filter, known as a baghouse, that helps capture particulates and gas from commercial processes. Gleim said the baghouse filter is a more efficient technique at reducing emissions than those used at the previous plant.

Humbert Asphalt’s violation was one of 16 from July that the DEQ announced on Tuesday. Fines totaled $183,080 and ranged from $825-$31,527.

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