Renewal denied for Port Townsend Paper's inert-waste permit for landfill at its Port Townsend, Washington, pulp and paper mill, as county health department cites potentially harmful emissions from site; company will appeal, says it has 'very strong case'

Kendall Sinclair

Kendall Sinclair

Jan 3, 2013 – Industry Intelligence Inc.

LOS ANGELES , January 3, 2013 () – A county health department has declined to renew Port Townsend Paper Corp.’s inert-waste permit that applies to the landfill at its Port Townsend, Washington, pulp and paper mill, citing potentially harmful leachate or emissions from the site that could affect soil, water and air quality, The Peninsula Daily News reported Jan. 3.

The company expects to appeal the ruling, which Port Townsend Paper President Roger Loney said was not surprising given the Jefferson County Public Health Dept.’s Oct. 17 statement that the company should obtain a stricter limited-use permit.

But he added that the company has “a very strong case,” which it will appeal to the state’s Pollution Controls Hearing Board.

Port Townsend Paper had asked for the inert-waste permit extension in September, after which the county public health department issued its initial ruling in October, which led to a Nov. 27 hearing to consider the decision.

At the hearing, Port Townsend Paper officials argued that regulations and processes have remain unchanged, which should prompt the renewal of the permit that had been in effect since 1989. But the county said that the presence of lime grit in the site’s pH output surpassed the standard accepted for inert.

The public health officer for Jefferson and Clallam counties, Dr. Tom Locke, denied the appeal on Dec. 3, noting the shifting waste properties due to the expanded biomass cogeneration plant at the mill, The Daily News reported.

The biomass expansion, which had been slated for April, was pushed back to 2014 or 2015, Port Townsend Paper reported following a lawsuit filed by five environmental groups that will be heard at the state Supreme Court, the Daily News reported.

The lawsuit calls for an environmental impact statement before the wood waste-burning facility could be expanded. Another nearby biomass cogeneration facility—Nippon Paper Industries USA Co.—has also faced environmental groups’ opposition over claims that the plants will worsen air pollution.

The primary source of this article is the Peninsula Daily News, Port Angeles, Washington, Jan. 3, 2013.

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