Air Enforcement: Alabama Department of Environmental Management and Monroe County Pulp Mill Reach Consent Order | Mitchell, Williams, Selig, Gates & Woodyard, LLC


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The Alabama Department of Environmental Management (“ADEM”) and Alabama River Cellulose, LLC (“ARC”) entered into a consent order (“CO”) on March 30 regarding alleged violations of a air permit. See Consent Order No. 22-XXX-CAP.

The CO provides for ARC to operate a pulp mill (“facility”) in Monroe County, Alabama.

The facility is intended to be operated under a major source operating license (“licence”). Therefore, the facility is declared to operate under a permit application shield.

It is stated that the license contains a provision that provides:

Particulate matter emissions must not exceed the stricter of 0.12 pounds per ton of black liquor solids (dry weight) and 16.0 pounds per hour.

The license also contains a provision that states:

Carbon monoxide emissions must not exceed the strictest of 200 parts per million by volume at eight percent oxygen and 312.6 pounds per hour.

ADEM reportedly received a particulate matter (“PM”) chimney test from the ARC on November 4, 2021. The report stated that Smelt Dissolving Tank No. 8 exceeded the allowable PM emission limit. Additionally, on December 9, 2021, the facility was reportedly scheduled to perform five-year gaseous emissions testing for various air pollutants.

Due to instrumental data indicating that the recovery furnace was operating above the carbon monoxide limit, the CO states that performance testing has not commenced. ADEM is declared to consider instrumental data indicating that Recovery Furnace No. 8 was operating above its carbon monoxide limit and that the facility’s subsequent decision not to proceed with the scheduled stack test indicates a violation of the limit.

ARC, in response to a Notice of Violation, said the breach of the MP limit was due to an unusual increase in load in the smelt tank during the second round of the performance test. The company also reportedly said the highest carbon monoxide readings during the Dec. 9, 2021 stack test were the result of a faulty pressure transmitter that controls the air dampers in the oven’s secondary air system. recovery. It is also stated that the company does not believe the high carbon monoxide readings would have caused the stack test to fail.

The ARC notes in part that its decision not to proceed with stack testing on December 9, 2021 was not based on the brief increases in carbon monoxide seen on the instruments that morning. Instead, it was stated that it was due to his belief that manual control of the air system, necessitated by a malfunctioning pressure transmitter, was not indicative of representative operating conditions.

Regarding the postponement of the referenced test, the ARC would have consulted with the ADEM representatives on site and did not understand at that time that the state agency would consider the postponement of the test activities as a breach.

Finally, with respect to the actual carbon monoxide emissions observed on the stack test instrumentation, ARC contends that the brief 26-minute carbon monoxide spike was not of a magnitude or duration sufficient to cause the relevant carbon monoxide emission to be exceeded over three hours. Standard.

A civil penalty of $30,000 is imposed.

A copy of the CO can be downloaded here.


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