Baileyville pulp plant fined for air quality violations

Posted Nov. 24, 2010, at 9:17 p.m.

BAILEYVILLE, Maine — Woodland Pulp LLC, formerly Domtar, has agreed to pay $53,900 as part of a settlement agreement with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection for violations of the state’s air quality emissions standards from 2007 to September 2010.

The violations include exceeding venting restrictions for noncondensable gas and stack test failures. Many of the violations are centered on the No. 9 power boiler at the plant.

Some of the above-level emissions — which are created when fuels are burned at high temperatures — included the chemical compounds sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, particulate matter and total reduced sulfur.

Some of these compounds create acid rain, are harmful to water quality and fish, and create the telltale pulp mill odor of rotting eggs, according to the industry.

The level of violations varied, according to details of the DEP agreement. For example, carbon monoxide is allowed at 235 pounds per hour but tested at the mill at nearly 242 pph.

Nitrogen oxide is allowed at 143 pph but tested at 170.39 pph. Sulfur dioxide is allowed at 420 pph but tested at 452.96 pph.

Total reduced sulfur is allowed at 3.1 pounds per hour but the mill tested at 3.2 pph.

The penalty is part of a consent agreement between the DEP and Domtar that was signed by company representatives in October and approved by the state Board of Environmental Protection on Nov. 18.

The eight-page agreement carefully lays out the air quality requirements for the future, including properly maintaining emission monitoring equipment and adhering to precise emission levels.

Company spokesman Scott Beal blamed equipment breakdowns and a complicated, detailed web of state air requirements for the problems.

“We have a 70-page air emission license,” Beal said Wednesday. “Obviously there are opportunities to experience some exceedance violations.”

Beal said the company maintains a high degree of compliance, and the problems cited are now behind it.

“They were sporadic, intermittent and limited,” he said.

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