Sep 10, 2018
Texas Cordia Overcomes the Permitting Process
Although permitting an asphalt plant can seem scary, Texas Cordia found that with communication and persistence they could overcome any fear.
The plant permitting process can be a little intimidating, even for experienced plant professionals.
Knowing how difficult it can sometimes be, Isaac Heredia and Yara Corbitt from Texas Cordia started the process early. By the beginning of April, they were already pulling together all of the information they would need to permit their first asphalt plant.
Starting at Square One
“The most apparent first step is just to get online,” Corbitt said. She started on the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality website and remembers how easy it was to find an article titled, “So you want to start a hot mix plant?”
She and Heredia had already done some research before to ensure the property they were looking at met TCEQ’s requirements.
They began communicating directly with TCEQ out of Austin, as well as their local branch,
“When it comes to TCEQ, I’ve found that they key is actual communication,” Corbitt said. “It’s more than filling out a form. I just told them I’m no expert and they became my expert. They told me the next steps so that we could follow the process exactly as it needed to be done. The process was much smoother than anticipated.”
“They were an amazing resource,” Corbitt said. “I felt like I wasn’t going through it alone. They wanted me to do it right just as much as I did.”
Thankfully, the used asphalt plant they’d purchased in Corpus Christi, Texas, already had an existing permit. After closing on the plant, Corbitt said, all they needed to do was change the name and location for that plant and schedule its effective date for late May.
Their change in ownership from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality was approved May 7, 2018, only one week after the request had been received.
“We understand that there will be no change in the type of pollutants emitted and no increase in the quantity of emissions,” the approval letter reads. “As the new permittee/registrant, you have committed to maintain compliance with all air quality regulations and applicable rule requirements of the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality.”
Other Permits and Procedures
“We thought we’d hit some resistance with our permits, but we’ve been very fortunate and all of our permits are moving along the right path,” Corbitt said.
She expects to have all of their permits by the end of May, including electricity, water, sewer, and building permits.
“Honestly, the hardest part of the permitting process was getting the physical address of our property,” Corbitt said. “It doesn’t have an obvious address, so we had to talk to the postmaster to get the official address.”
This was quite a different story than what they’d heard it would be when they first began looking to start up an asphalt plant.
They’d gotten quite a bit of negative feedback prior to their purchase–comments like, ”It’s too costly, you don’t need the headache, what will you do when…?” Corbitt recalls–but they’ve already had offers to be bought out and the plant hasn’t even arrived on their property yet.
“If you have that dream to own and operate an asphalt plant, you have to remember that everything is attainable,” Heredia said. “Don’t let people scare you.”
Now that their TCEQ permit is approved, they can begin tearing down the plant in Corpus Christi to bring it to their location in south Texas–a three hour drive–and start receiving parts they’ve bought from all over the country.
“We’ll be setting it up all throughout June and July, going through trials, hauling and stocking material and having material tested by TxDOT so we can get things going for August,” Heredia said.
Stay tuned for the next chapter of Texas Cordia’s process of establishing their first asphalt plant where they share the process of bringing all of the parts of the pant together in one place.