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City announces 2023 Air Pollution Control Achievement Award Winners

Published on February 26, 2024

Since 1997, the City of Huntsville’s Air Pollution Control Board has been recognizing local companies for their voluntary efforts to keep our skies clean. Only those institutional and commercial facilities that go beyond regulatory requirements for reducing and controlling air pollutant emissions are eligible.

Air Pollution Control honorees display their awards at the Air Pollution Control Board Achievement Awards. There are seven men, some of which are dressed in suits. Mayor Tommy Battle is on the right.
Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, right, joins award winners at the 2024 Air Pollution Control Achievement Awards. The companies honored were Sanmina, Vulcan Materials and Wiregrass Construction.

During the 2023 Air Pollution Control Achievement Awards ceremony on Feb. 26, Mayor Battle and Huntsville’s Department of Natural Resources recognized three companies for their exemplary work in setting a high bar in pollution control and prevention. The winners include Sanmina Corporation, Vulcan Materials Company and Wiregrass Construction Company.

In congratulating this year’s winners, Mayor Battle called on all Huntsville companies to do their part in creating a sustainable city.

Huntsville is an attainment city, meaning we meet the Clean Air Act’s highest standards for air quality. We need the commitment of our industrial and community members to retain this non-negotiable goal. Maintaining a healthy, clean and sustainable environment is important, and we commend and applaud those who support us in this mission.” – Mayor Tommy Battle

Category 1 – Emission Reduction, Fully Implemented Projects, Award Winners

The Board established the Category 1 awards to recognize facilities that have completed and fully implemented a project that reduces pollutant emissions to the ambient air. Some examples of activities within this category are installation or upgrading of emission control equipment, the use of less polluting raw materials in manufacturing processes or facility maintenance, the installation of more efficient process equipment that reduces raw material or fuel usage, measures to reduce energy consumption, and the purchase of low emission fleet vehicles. Actions required by air pollution control regulations, or implemented in response to enforcement action, are not eligible for recognition.

Sanmina Corporation – Sanmina Corporation manufactures electronic products for the defense and medical equipment industries at their plant on South Memorial Parkway in Huntsville.  Sanmina completed a boiler upgrade project at the end of 2020 in which three (3) 25-MMBtu/hr natural gas-fired boilers were replaced with two (2) smaller, more efficient, natural gas-fired boilers utilizing low-NOx burner and flue gas recirculation technologies.  Emission reductions due to this project are estimated for all natural gas combustion pollutants; however, most notably for an estimated reduction in nitrogen oxides (NOx) of 29 tons per year (tpy), carbon monoxide (CO) of 17 tpy, and greenhouse gases (GHGs) (as CO2e) of 23,652 tpy.  (Sanmina Corporation also received Air Pollution Control Achievement Awards in 2008, 2013, 2014, and 2016).

Vulcan Materials Company – Vulcan Materials operates a limestone quarry and associated stone crushing and sizing process equipment at their quarry on Stringfield Road in Huntsville.  Vulcan completed several projects at the Huntsville quarry for which this award is being given.  In 2021 the facility initiated an extensive project to reduce fugitive particulate emissions due to rock dust and dirt tracking on the roads from vehicles exiting the plant site.   After upgrading the vehicle wheel-wash system customer vehicles pass through before exiting the site, the facility repaved crumbling asphalt roads and purchased an over-the-road water truck to wash down the plant entrance and exit roads as well as the adjacent public highway.  This project was completed in 2022.  During 2021 and 2022, Vulcan also replaced seven (7) diesel-fueled pieces of equipment with newer, more efficient models – reducing combustion-related fugitive emissions from the plant site.  In 2023, the facility installed dust boxes and water spray systems at three (3) previously uncontrolled conveyor points on one of the process rock crushers.  In addition to the decrease in fugitive emissions resulting from the road dust reduction and equipment replacement projects, the added capture and control systems installed on the crusher conveyor points increased the control efficiency of particulate matter from the crushing and sizing plant from approximately 90.2% to 99.5%.  (Vulcan Materials Company also received Air Pollution Control Achievement Awards in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2018).

Wiregrass Construction Company – Wiregrass operates an asphalt production facility on Stringfield Road in Huntsville.  Wiregrass completed two (2) projects for which this award is being given. At the end of 2021, the facility upgraded the stack exhaust dust filtration system off the process stack– which reduces process-related, point-source emissions of particulate matter from the facility.  Also, Wiregrass switched fuels in the main process burner from used oil to natural gas – reducing emissions of combustion-related pollutants to the atmosphere.  The decrease in emissions associated with these projects are estimated at over 500 pounds per year of particulate and almost 800 tons of GHGs/year (an approximate 28% reduction). (This is Wiregrass Construction Company’s first Air Pollution Control Achievement Award).

“Today’s awardees have had a positive impact on air quality in Huntsville and the surrounding areas,” said Darlene Elliott, the City’s Director of Natural Resources.

Historically, the Air Pollution Control Achievement Awards are presented each year in late summer or early fall and recognized achievements for the previous calendar year.  However, the COVID-19 pandemic prevented the ceremony from taking place, and this year’s ceremony will honor achievements from 2020 through 2023.