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Amerities West Public Information Meeting Thursday, February 27

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Presentation on theme: "Amerities West Public Information Meeting Thursday, February 27"— Presentation transcript:

1 Amerities West Public Information Meeting Thursday, February 27
Information on the Air Contaminant Discharge Permit (ACDP) I’d like to welcome everybody who came out tonight. My name is Frank Messina, and I’m the person at DEQ who is working on the air quality permit renewal for Amerities-West. This is an information meeting on the air quality permit renewal that the company has applied for. DEQ is not required to hold an information meeting for this type of renewal, but we wanted to because we are aware of the questions and concerns some people have had about Amerities in the past. While this meeting is for information purposes only, we will hold a more formal public hearing on the permits. That will provide all of you with an opportunity to comment specifically about elements of the air quality permit before a final draft is issued. I hope you have had a chance to ask questions at the tables we have set up. You will also have that opportunity after this presentation. We have experts in three different subject areas pertaining to this project. We have a table about the permit conditions and process. We have a table about DEQ’s new nuisance and odor rules. And we have a third table staffed by the Oregon Health Authority to answer any health or odor-related questions you might have. I want to take a moment to thank XXXX and XXXX from the Oregon Health Authority for being here tonight. This is a DEQ permit, and they didn’t have to be here, but we all recognize how important it is to talk openly about the odors and health impacts from this facility. Oregon Department of Environmental Quality

2 Amerities West is applying for a renewal of its Air Quality Permit with the DEQ.
Amerities West operates a wood preserving facility located on Tie Plant Road in The Dalles, Oregon. The company treats railroad ties with a creosote mixture in five large pressure cylinders (retorts) as part of this operation. The process includes two boilers (natural gas/ oil), three sawdust and particulate emission collection systems (called cyclones) and five retorts used to treat the wood. Link to Google Maps image of Amerities As most of you probably know, Amerities is a wood-preserving facility that makes treated railroad ties. They have been operating in The Dalles since XXXX. Oregon Department of Environmental Quality

3 Why is an air permit required?
The following operations at Amerities West are required to have an air permit under Division 216, Table 1: 83. Wood Preserving Operations 13. Boilers and other Fuel Burning Equipment 84. Any other source of odors, including drip pads If the drafted permit meets applicable state environmental laws, DEQ is required to issue the permit. DEQ requires an air quality permit due to some of the plant’s operations, including wood preserving and use of the boilers. Although Amerities has an existing air quality permit, that permit needs to be renewed every five years. The company has applied for this renewal. Oregon Department of Environmental Quality

4 Changes implemented at the plant since last permit to address odor issues:
Staggered retort load/unload times Extended east wall of the treating plant to improve mist system mixing zone Shortened retort door open times Installed plastic freezer strips below the east wall Amerities has made a number of changes to address odor issues in recent years, including altering something called a retort. A retort is…XXXXX. They staggered their retort and unloading times, improved their mixing and shortened the time when the retort door is open. Despite these changes, odors continue to be an issue at this facility. We also believe odors will exist with this type of operation, even if more odor-reduction measures are put in place. It’s just not possible to completely eliminate odors from a railroad-tie manufacturing operation such as this. Oregon Department of Environmental Quality

5 Retort cylinders used for treating
This is a picture showing the retort cylinders I mentioned before. The wood is pressure treated with a creosote mix inside these retorts, and then they are taking out to a drip pad where they dry.

6 Treated railroad tie on the drip pad
This is a picture of the drip pad and the treated ties. This part of the process results in the most odors at the facility.

7 What are the sources of the odors at the plant?
Creosote emissions from: Pressure treating operations Railroad ties drying on the drip pad Railroad ties out in the yard Most of the odors at Amerities results from treated railroad ties that are set out to dry. The odors are highest immediately after they are taken out of the retorts, though they continue to emit some odors when they are stacked in the yard. Oregon Department of Environmental Quality

8 Odor complaints Received by DEQ:
Year # so far DEQ tracks odor complaints and this and other facilities throughout the state. You can see that the number of complaints varies by year. We don’t always know whether a drop in complaints means there is less odor or whether it means that people just get tired of complaining about the smell. Some people may get used to the odors, or others may think there is no point in complaining because nothing can be done. I’d like to now invite Bryan Smith from DEQ to talk for a few minutes about DEQ’s new nuisance strategy, which outlines how the agency will handle these type of complaints as we move forward.

9 Nuisance Odor Background
There has been ongoing public concern about permitted facility odor nuisances. A nuisance substantially and unreasonably interferes with individual use and enjoyment of real property. Due to increasing density and housing located near businesses, DEQ has been receiving more nuisance complaints. State laws prohibit businesses from emitting odors that cause a nuisance. DEQ is responsible for implementing those laws. DEQ wants a reliable and defensible way to apply our nuisance strategy rules to odor complaints related to facilities with air, water and waste permits. Definition of nuisance. Prohibition on causing nuisance exists in Div 208 as well as many permit conditions in air, water and waste. Some permits are specific about prohibiting nuisance odor, and others have general requirements to be in compliance with all applicable DEQ regulations – including nuisance. There has been more recent attention to odor problems. People are more aware of air pollution and often concerned that toxic chemicals may be associated with odor. This can happen occasionally (naphthalene odor at creosoting operations is an example) but most of the toxic air pollutants we are concerned about are not detectable by smell and toxic pollutants in pollution we can smell are usually at levels posing very low risk.

10 Nuisance Odor Background continued
April 2013: DEQ land, air and water team developed an improved strategy to investigate, analyze and respond to odor complaints and nuisance odor conditions. The strategy is based on existing regulations for odor complaints from permitted facilities. May - July 2013: DEQ gathered public input. August 2013: DEQ incorporated input and finalized the strategy. We researched other state’s odor programs to understand current most effective practices. GovDelivery to all DEQ permit lists in water, land and air, plus interested persons lists in those media. 54 comments from individuals and organizations. Meetings with ORRA, ACWA, AOI, Neighbors for Clean Air, NWPPA, Legislators. Strategy defines a concrete path forward to address nuisance odor, will always contain subjective elements but documentation and process will bring consistency and predictability. We believe the strategy increases objectivity and predictability through well defined steps that support decision-making and understanding Each program will have its own nuisance odor responses – we will likely help each other until we reach independent levels of expertise.

11 Overview of the Process
- The nuisance process begins when we have exhausted all potential solutions under a facility’s permit or applicable regulations. - We always want to solve odor problems first using these existing regulatory options because they are already required, enforceable and generally more clear cut than the odor evaluation process. - If there is still an odor problem after using regulatory requirements, then we can proceed on to the nuisance process. - The nuisance process is not for conditions causing immediate health hazards, those would be referred to the state emergency response system. The nuisance process includes three basic phases. We expect to use the first phase of evaluation investigation and informal solutions most frequently. The Notice of Suspected Nuisance Phase and BWPA/Compliance phase will be more work intensive with fewer options for informal resolution. Several general considerations apply to the entire strategy: If at any time DEQ determines the odor has ceased and is not likely to reoccur, the investigation and other response actions will be discontinued. DEQ will document communications and investigations thoroughly and objectively. DEQ will not assume violations based solely on the existence of complaints, and will only take follow up steps when it independently determines the source of the odor. However, DEQ will communicate with potential odor sources shortly after receiving a complaint to keep them informed. In some cases this may lead to early and informal resolution of the complaints. If DEQ staff finds that a municipal waste water treatment plant has an established system for receiving and responding to complaints, they will provide the source an opportunity to resolve the odor problem using its own system. Since this is a new strategy, we expect to make some adjustments as we get experience using it. If during our training sessions we identify necessary changes, we will make those before using the strategy.

12 Complaint comes in through DEQ complaint system
Determine if the complaint is within the scope of the nuisance strategy Call complainant Staff follow up on enforcing permit requirements or regulations to abate odor If odor problem still exists, evaluate priority of source Complete Intake Form Some odors are clearly traceable to sources, others are not. When a source is totally unknown and complaints continue, the complaint coordinator will track the data over time and analyze it to determine potential sources. Not in the process: unpermitted sources, woodsmoke and burning complaints. Lower priority sources: - Auto body businesses; - Sources with general or basic Air Contaminant Discharge permits under OAR (except for asphalt batch plants); - Solid waste transfer stations; Solid waste material recovery or recycling facilities. - We will have a message map to help us consistently communicate about priority DEQ anticipates that after higher priority sources have been addressed, and resources allow, staff may proceed to investigate lower priority sources Permit writers will fill out the odor intake form each time they receive an odor complaint for a permitted source – although ideally we’ll have the complainants fill the forms out themselves online, and they will then be ed to the appropriate permit writer. Doing so with each odor complaint slowly builds the case that nuisance investigation is or is not needed. Frank Messina will now tell us about the next steps in the permit renewal process and how you can participate.

13 Next steps Public hearings are a formal process for DEQ to solicit input on the draft permit. Comments should address conditions in the draft permit. DEQ will only respond to comments that meet this criterion. I want to clarify again that this meeting is for information, and that there will be an opportunity in the near future for you to comment on the air quality permit. Oregon Department of Environmental Quality

14 Submitting a question:
By card By Response to questions will be placed on the DEQ internet site Next steps? DEQ will draft a permit and hold a public hearing for the public to comment on If you have a comment or question about the permit, the facility or the nuisance process, there are a number of ways for you to contact DEQ. You can fill out the postcard available at any of the information tables, and drop the card off with us before you leave tonight. You can also drop the card off at the DEQ office located on this campus, or mail the card to us. You can also send an at the address provided on that postcard. Finally, you can always visit DEQ’s web site for more information on Amerities and the air quality permit. That website is also shown the on the postcard. DEQ will provide answers to all of the questions we receive, and we will post those answers on our web site. I want to thank you all for attending and for participating in this process. Please feel free to visit the information booths if you have more questions. Thank you. Oregon Department of Environmental Quality

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