Business as usual?

There’s a 36 year tradition of pouring air pollution out just upwind of Smithers and those fine folks at Pinnacle Renewable Energy are clearly carrying on business as usual. The BC Ministry of Environment operates a very useful pollution monitoring station at St. Josephs School in Smithers and the data gathered is archived at You wouldn’t say the user interface is very intuitive but it does work and is pretty quick.

Out of curiosity about whether the new pellet manufacturing was having an effect on PM2.5 levels here, a date range was chosen up to November 25th 2018 that started after the big-time fire smoke, so settled on September 1st to November 25th. The average 1 hour PM2.5 reading for that period was 10.8 micrograms per cubic metre. Over the same date range from 2014 to 2017 the value was 8.45 and for the two years 2012 and 2013 we measured 10.3.

A picture is worth a thousand micrograms so…

Column 1 was added to make the other columns start at zero for better comparing.

And here we see that column 2, from years 2012 and 2013, is taller (more pollution) than column 3 (years 2014-2017, a 22% drop) and column 4 is from 2018, a rebound of 27%, somewhat higher than when Smithers was blessed with a particleboard plant. So yes, Pinnacle IS carrying on business as usual.

Three dryer stacks:

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