Domtar commissions precipitator at its Kamloops, British Columbia, pulp mill to clean emissions, expects upgrades to reduce emissions by 38% by March as part of mandatory 70% emissions reduction by 2014

KAMLOOPS, British Columbia , September 20, 2011 () – Despite a setback earlier this summer, Domtar has fired up a major piece of equipment the company expects will help meet targets of reducing emissions by 2014.

Over the weekend, the pulp mill commissioned a piece of equipment called a precipitator.

Domtar spokeswoman Bonny Skene said the device is the best available technology for cleaning emissions, noting precipitators will be installed on two of the mill’s four wood-burning boilers.

Essentially, the equipment helps clean particulate out of emissions before they are released into the air.

The upgrade, once tests are complete by next March, is expected to help the mill reduce particulate emissions by 38 per cent.

Under its current air-quality permit, Domtar must reduce emissions by 70 per cent, or down to 90 milligrams of particulate matter, by 2014 through a step-by-step program.

Skene said the precipitators are a major milestone toward reaching that goal.

“It’s expected the stepdown will be a significant stepdown with the implementation of this new equipment,” she said, noting the equipment is part of a $74-million investment to improve the mill’s air quality.

Though the smell coming from the mill has been a constant complaint among Kamloops residents, Skene noted this project will have no impact on the odor-causing emissions.

She said those emissions will continue to be directed through the high-elevation stack indefinitely.

Last month, it was revealed Domtar had a setback in its testing and narrowly passed a quarterly emissions tests.

The test results, provided by Domtar to the Ministry of Environment (MOE), show the mill discharged 198.8 milligrams of particulate matter during the July 8 test.

That amount is slightly less than the 200 milligrams allowed under its permit.

Skene said she’s not sure how much of an effect the new precipitators will have on future tests during the commissioning period.

After Domtar received a $57-million boost from the federal government for its black-liquor credit last spring, the MOE sped up the requirements to meet the amended air-quality permit several years sooner than originally ordered.

Black liquor is the spent cooking liquor left over from the kraft process when digesting pulpwood into paper pulp.

It can be used as an energy source or fuel.

By 2012, particulate must be reduced to a further 180 milligrams, a full year earlier than the amended permit intended.

By 2013, the two proposed double power-boiler stacks must be in place, with a 50-milligram limit.

Domtar had been given until 2016 to meet the requirement.

Finally, the high-elevation stack must drop its emissions to 90 milligrams by 2014, completing all the work required two years earlier.

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