The Washington state Department of Ecology has fined Watsonville, California-based Granite Construction $36,000 for air pollution released from the firm's Moses Lake, Washington, asphalt plant.
Agency inspectors found that Granite failed to use required covers over asphalt conveyor belts for eight days in September, resulting in excessive emissions of volatile organic compounds from the gravel pit, according to a news release.
The agency identified excessive air emissions from the plant in the past. It issued a Notice of Correction to Granite in June 2020 for another violation, after inspectors found the gravel pit was operating without required pollution control equipment in place.
In a statement issued to Construction Dive, Granite said it is looking into the matter.
"Granite has received notice from the Washington Department of Ecology, and we are evaluating the report’s findings," said Erin Kuhlman, Granite's chief marketing and communications officer. "We have addressed the department's concerns, and the department has no issue regarding our current operations."
The company has the option to appeal the penalty, per the Department of Ecology's release.
According to the Violation Tracker run by industry watchdog group Good Jobs First, Granite has been fined over $1 million for environmental violations since 2000.
The construction firm has been implementing a shift in its corporate culture, with an emphasis on transparency and accountability, in the wake of a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into accounting irregularities. The firm had to restate its financials last year as a result.
Kuhlman said the company is committed to protecting the environment.
"We care about the communities where we live and work, and we are committed to doing the right thing," Kuhlman said. "Sustainability and integrity are two of Granite’s five core values, and we believe in environmental stewardship and ethical business practices."