In the technical assessment document SLR has prepared for NewPro continual reference is made to the PM2.5 objective being 8 micrograms/m3 annually. But this document points out that since 2005 the planning objective has been 6 micrograms. Why is this being ignored?
In 2009 the Province of BC published GUIDANCE ON APPLICATION OF PROVINCIAL AIR QUALITY CRITERIA FOR PM 2.5 and in that guide specify that attention must be paid in permitting to the Canada Wide Standards policy of continuous improvement and keeping clean areas clean. Stress is laid on the need to not pollute up to a limit. Lots of good reading in there. Fly at ‘er!
On Monday morning, June 29, 2015 CBC Prince Rupert interviewed Dr. Elizabeth Bastian, GP Oncologist with Northern Health. The audio is on the CBC Daybreak North site and is mirrored here.
The Technical Assessment prepared by SLR in support of NewPro’s permit amendment application considers particulate matter only. A useful start but quite limited. In 2010 the BC Ministry of Environment commissioned Envirochem to prepare a report on pellet plant emissions. There’s lots about VOCs in there that isn’t touched on by SLR. Back to the drawing board!
from an email of December 12, 2008 from Dr. David Bowering, Chief Medical Health officer at Northern Health, this text:
“Here you go, Dave. This might take a bit of digesting. Basically it provides evidence-based estimates of mortality attributable to particulate pollution in the North. These estimates suggest that the mortality attributable to particulate pollution is on the same order of magnitude as the mortality attributable to diabetes and that it is much greater than previously thought. One of the tables estimates that there would be 6 deaths in Smithers over a 5 year period that would not have occurred if the particulate level was as low as it is in Terrace. I would be glad to talk more either on the phone or email about the issues of linking otitis media to pollution. Cheers”
The research referenced is here.
- We live in a very special time right now. At no other time in history has there been such mass disillusionment in terms of reliance on governing functions. Most people don’t want to come to terms with that. It’s been proven over and over again that the emperor isn’t wearing any clothes, but most people don’t like to look at naked emperors. In the process of turning around to avert their eyes, they saw the discotheques and a few other things and latched onto them.
Frank Zappa in the OUI interview, 1979
Well, no. The news from BC Lung is good, but not that good. See page 10 of this report. Basically for the reporting year 2013, NewPro’s last year of operation, Smithers was the second most polluted town in BC for PM2.5 levels. Then in 2014 with NewPro shut down we dropped to number eight position in the province. And that’s in the presence of big time forest fire smoke, too.
But there’s a way to get back up the charts! Just approve pellet production from the defunct (and contaminated?) site of the old panelboard plant and watch that ranking pick up!
“Most of the wood is being imported from North America – and this is not expected to change in the near future. The main sourcing regions at present are the southern US and British Columbia. In both regions, highly biodiverse and carbon rich forests are being clearcut and in many cases turned into industrial tree plantations. Increasingly, wood sourced this way is now being turned into pellets for Drax and other UK power stations.”
Burning biomass in power stations causes similar levels of air pollution as coal burning overall. It emits less sulphur dioxide (SO2) but more very fine particulates (PM 2.5, which pose a particularly serious risk of lung and heart disease and for which there is no safe level, according to the World Health Organisation) and more harmful Volatile Organic Compounds. By far the main air quality concern, however, is that biomass conversions will allow power stations which would otherwise be shut down to operate for decades to come. Communities such as those in Newport, next to Uskmouth Power Station will thus be exposed to high levels of air pollution for much longer. Furthermore, conversion to biomass greatly increases the risk of accidental fires and explosions.”
There’s more, rather grim reading but interesting.
from June 16, 2015 can be found here.
From Mayor Bachrach’s facebook page where the NEWPRO proposal was referred to the Town of Smithers is this comment from Ivan Polfliet:
Really bad idea … Pellet Manufacturing Emission Challenges :
The green chip drying and handling area of a wood pellet production facility includes a complex array of machinery and choices that can be integrated to work together. For emissions control, gases from the dryer and the heat energy system must be cleaned in order to meet local, state and federal requirements. Basically, this comes down to meeting the standards for emissions of volatile organic compounds and particulate matter. Included in these two categories are special categories of emissions known as hazardous air pollutants that generally have even more restrictive requirements for abatement. For example, formaldehyde in the gas stream is part of the general category of volatile organic compounds and is considered a hazardous air pollutant by the U.S. EPA. Similarly, manganese will be present as a particulate and is also considered a hazardous air pollutant.
The drying process described above creates significant quantities of all these pollutants. More specifically, the combustion of wood and the subsequent intimate contact of the hot flue gases with green wood chips for drying results in an emission profile that has three main categories of particles: inorganic fly ash from combustion, organic condensibles from the green wood chips, and coarse wood particles from the tumbling action of the dryer. Each of these particles must be abated in a single piece of equipment before the gas stream is treated for the volatile organic compounds. This contaminated gas stream profile presents a complex emission control challenge.