After careful consideration of all public input, Olympic Region Clean Air Agency (ORCAA) has approved the Notice of Construction (NOC) Application from Nippon Paper Industries USA (Nippon) for a Cooling Tower addition to their existing permitted facilities. The NOC allows construction and operation of a 5,500 gallons-per-minute cooling tower at their existing paper mill located at the base of Ediz Hook in Port Angeles, Washington.
ORCAA has assessed air quality implications of Nippon’s proposed project and considered all public comments and questions – more than 70 pages of comments and ORCAA responses were generated during the permitting process. ORCAA concluded that compliance with applicable air regulations and standards will be maintained and has issued the permit.
During the public process, ORCAA engineers provided detailed responses to all public inputs. ORCAA staff invested considerable time in fully investigating issues of concern before making a decision. One frequently expressed public comment was that the cooling tower was being permitted alone and that could mask the overall combined emissions. As noted in the detailed responses, ORCAA engineers did look at the combined impacts of the entire facility and found that the addition of the cooling tower would actually decrease the total particular matter (PM) emissions for Nippon. Additionally, there would be no change in permitting or source classification when all emissions sources were combined. Nippon is already classified as a major source under federal clean air laws, requiring the more stringent Air Operating Permit (AOP) under Title V of the U.S. Clean Air Act for its operation.
Citizens also expressed interest in having access to the monitoring data gathered from the in-stack monitors on the cooling tower. That data will be available to the public as soon as it is provided to ORCAA – once in ORCAA’s hands, it becomes public records and is available as such.
The full record of all public comments received and ORCAA’s responses to them, as well as the full NOC permit and supporting documents are available online at: http://www.orcaa.org/news/final-determinations.