October 2011Monthly Archives

NEWS: Public Invited to Comment on Draft Air Operating Permit (AOP) Renewal for Rohm and Haas LLC

The Olympic Region Clean Air Agency (ORCAA) firmly believes in its motto, “Clean Air is Everyone’s Business.” As such, ORCAA seeks to keep everyone within our jurisdiction well informed about the actions¬—and proposed actions—we take.

Public comment is currently being accepted on a draft Air Operating Permit (AOP) renewal and Notice of Construction (NOC) modification for for Rohm and Haas Chemicals LLC, located in Elma, Washington, pursuant to Title V of the federal Clean Air Act and Chapter 173-401 of the Washington Administrative Code.

Rohm and Haas Chemicals LLC (Rohm and Haas) has requested a voluntary limit on emissions of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) at their specialty chemical production plant in Elma, Washington. Rohm and Haas has proposed to limit emissions of all HAPs to less than 10 tons per year of any single HAP and less than 25 tons per year of all combined HAPs. The limit would replace their current facility-wide methanol limit of 60 tons per year established in Notice of Construction# 01MOD189. The purpose of this request is to establish enforceable emission limits thereby allowing classification of the facility as a minor source with respect to any National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants with a future compliance date.

Simultaneous with their application requesting voluntary limits on HAP emissions, a draft Air Operating Permit (AOP) renewal for Rohm and Haas is available for review. AOPs are required pursuant to Title V of the federal Clean Air Act and are designed to help ensure compliance with applicable air quality regulations and standards. AOPs are required to be renewed every five years. Rohm and Haas’s plant in Elma requires an AOP because it is a major source with respect to the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants: Miscellaneous Organic Chemical Manufacturing. This will be the 2nd renewal of the AOP for Rohm and Haas.

ORCAA has reviewed Rohm and Haas’ request and concluded that the proposed emissions limits will likely comply with all applicable air regulations and standards. On this basis, ORCAA’s Preliminary Recommendation is to approve Rohm and Haas’ application.

Copies of the Preliminary Recommendation, draft AOP renewal and the associated Technical Support Document (TSD) for Rohm and Haas Chemicals LLC are on file and available for review at the Elma Library at 118 N. First Street in Elma, and at ORCAA’s office in Olympia. The Preliminary Recommendation, draft AOP and TSD are also accessible here.

Comments may be submitted to ORCAA in writing. Written comments should be addressed to: ORCAA, 2940-B Limited Lane NW, Olympia, WA 98502, and will be accepted up to close of business on Monday, Nov. 28, 2011. Comments should pertain to adequacy of the draft AOP in assuring compliance with applicable air quality regulations and standards. Any concerned party may request a public hearing within the specified public comment period. The request should include information to justify the need for a public hearing. If there is significant public interest, ORCAA will hold a public hearing.

Public Invited to Comment on Draft Air Permit for Simpson Door, McCleary

The Olympic Region Clean Air Agency (ORCAA) firmly believes in its motto,  “Clean Air is Everyone’s Business.” As such, ORCAA seeks to keep everyone within our jurisdiction well informed about the actions­—and proposed actions—we take.

Public comment is currently being accepted on a draft Air Operating Permit (AOP) renewal for for Simpson Door Company  located in McCleary, Washington, pursuant to Title V of the federal Clean Air Act and Chapter 173-401 of the Washington Administrative Code. This is a draft of the AOP renewal that will be in effect for five years.

Simpson Door’s manufacturing facility in McCleary requires an AOP because it has the potential to emit over 100 tons per year of particulate air pollution. This will be the 2nd renewal of the AOP for Simpson Door.

Copies of the draft AOP Renewal and the associated Technical Support Document (TSD) for Simpson are on file and available for review at the McCleary Library at 121 South 4th Street in McCleary, and at ORCAA’s office in Olympia. The draft AOP and TSD are also available online at www.orcaa.org.

Comments may be submitted to ORCAA in writing. Written comments should be addressed to: ORCAA, 2940-B Limited Lane NW, Olympia, WA 98502, and will be accepted up to close of business on Monday, Nov. 10, 2011. Comments should pertain to adequacy of the draft AOP in assuring compliance with applicable air quality regulations and standards. Any concerned party may request a public hearing within the specified public comment period. The request should include information to justify the need for a public hearing. If there is significant public interest, ORCAA will hold a public hearing.

Burning wood to heat homes poses potential health risks

Dept. of Ecology & ORCAA News Release:

Colder weather prompts many Washington residents to start firing up wood stoves, fireplaces and other wood-burning devices to heat their homes.

If done right, burning wood can be a cheap way to heat your home. But using poor burning habits; wood that has not been dried properly; and old, inefficient devices can lead to burning up more wood – and money. It also produces large amounts of health-damaging wood smoke – one of the most serious air pollution problems in Washington.

Fine particles in smoke are so small they can easily get into your lungs. Once there, they can cause heart and breathing problems, and even death. People with asthma and respiratory illnesses, children and older adults are most at risk.

Health studies show that people who heat their homes with wood have more breathing problems than those who don’t. Smoke particles also invade neighboring homes. Research shows that children in wood-burning neighborhoods are more likely to have lung and breathing problems.

A 2009 analysis (http://www.ecy.wa.gov/pubs/0902021.pdf) estimates that fine particles lead to about 1,100 deaths and $190 million in added health-care costs each year in Washington, according to the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology).

ORCAA, Ecology and the state’s other local clean air agencies help Washingtonians curb wood-smoke pollution. The agencies use burn bans, education and programs that pay part of the cost of new, cleaner-burning home-heating devices.

How burn bans work

When fine particle pollution reaches unsafe levels, ORCAA and the other agencies may  call burn bans in their jurisdictions – for the entire region, for individual counties, or even just for portions of counties. These bans protect people’s health by limiting wood burning in those areas.

The most current Burn Ban information may be found at waburnbans.net and www.orcaa.org

Burn bans are called in stages:

  • Stage 1 burn bans are called based on weather conditions and rising pollution levels. No burning is allowed in wood-burning fireplaces, uncertified woodstoves or uncertified fireplace inserts, unless it is your only source of heat.
  • Stage 2 burn bans are called when fine particle pollution levels reach a “trigger value” set by state law. No burning is allowed in any wood-burning fireplace, woodstove or fireplace insert (even certified models), unless it is your only source of heat.

Violating a burn ban could lead to penalties, including fines.

During Stage 1 and Stage 2 burn bans, all outdoor burning also is banned, even in areas where outdoor burning isn’t permanently prohibited. The bans include agricultural and forest burning.

Burn dry, clean wood

Wood needs to be stored for at least six months – and better yet, a year – to be dry enough to burn well. Dry wood creates a hotter fire that takes less work and uses wood more efficiently.

Wet or green wood needs more heat to evaporate the higher water content before the wood can burn and give off heat. That means you need to burn nearly twice as much wet wood to generate the kind of heat provided by dry wood. So you spend more money to buy wood, or invest more time and effort to harvest your own.

Here’s how can you get the most out of your wood supply:

Split it. The wood will dry best and burn most efficiently if the pieces are 3½ to 6 inches in diameter.

Cover it. Protect the wood from rain and weather. Stack it loosely – in layers of alternating directions – to allow plenty of air circulation. Store it off the ground so air can circulate underneath.

Give it a year. Wood that has been split, dried and stored under cover for at least a year usually burns best.

Burning undried wood – and burning more of it because it’s wet or green – produces more smoke than burning dry wood.

Fire-Safety Burn Ban continues in Thurston County: Lifted in other counties

The seasonal fire-safety burn ban in Thurston County, implemented by a coalition of fire districts, public safety departments, and ORCAA, continues through Oct. 15 as it has every year since the seasonal ban was implemented 9 years ago.

In other counties within ORCAA’s jurisdiction, the seasonal bans were lifted Sept. 30. But just because you can burn yard waste doesn’t mean you should.

Burning at any time adds to the air pollution levels in your local neighborhood, and residents are encouraged to seek alternatives to burning throughout the year. Still, residents who plan to burn their yard debris may do so after Oct. 15 in much of rural Thurston County after acquiring a residential burn permit from their local fire district, or online from ORCAA. All outdoor burning of residential materials in Thurston County is prohibited July 15 through October 15 each year. Furthermore, outdoor burning is prohibited year-round for residents within all cities and Urban Growth Area (UGA) boundaries.

Residents must remember the only material they may legally burn is natural vegetation gathered on site. State law prohibits the burning of garbage and home-repair debris. Burn barrels of any kind are also prohibited by state law.

Unregulated outdoor burning of any kind can contribute to poor air quality, but burning garbage and other debris—even scraps of milled wood products—is particularly problematic. Most household garbage contains a great deal of plastics, chemicals, coatings and chemically treated materials. When burned, this garbage and waste material releases toxic fumes and particles into the air.   This pollution can cause disease ranging from eye and respiratory irritation to potential cancers.

The Olympic Region Clean Air Agency (ORCAA) encourages all residents to explore options such as chipping of woody debris, and composting of leaves and grass clippings rather than burning. “