County considers Lehigh violation resolved

Nearly a year after issuing a Notice of Violation against Lehigh Southwest Cement Co., Santa Clara County planners certified last week that the problems leading to the violation are resolved. 

Last June, inspectors issued a notice of violation after observing discharge of Lehigh’s quarry mining waste into Permanente Creek. The creek flows through Los Altos and Mountain View. An April 10 inspection report confirmed Lehigh had abated the violation.

“I’m glad this issue was resolved, though it certainly took longer than I hoped,” said Supervisor Joe Simitian, whose district includes Lehigh. “Clearly, on a property of this size and complexity, the county will need to remain vigilant.”

Simitian said his primary concerns were the abatement of the violation and the assurance that the facility is operating lawfully to ensure protecting Permanente Creek.

“This abatement provides that assurance,” he said.

Although the hills outside Cupertino have been mined for limestone since the early 1900s, and the Lehigh cement plant has been operational since 1958, the heavy industry is now located adjacent to residential neighborhoods, creating ongoing environmental, health and safety challenges.

Simitian has pushed for increased oversight at Lehigh and for the county to step up its oversight role by increasing on-site inspections. He also hosts an annual community meeting where residents can have their questions answered and hear from the relevant regulatory agencies directly.

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