ABERCROMBIE POINT – Northern Pulp has outlined its plans for improvements in the interim pending the installation of a new electrostatic precipitator in 2015.
During the upcoming maintenance shutdown in mid-September, the pulp mill noted in a release that it hopes to achieve short-term improvements to the current issues with the plume.
The mill stated that it has recently received encouraging results from a third-party test this July on the precipitator plume. While not yet in compliance, there has been an improvement from the 670 milligrams per cubic metre of particulate matter recorded in fall 2013 down to around to 500 milligrams. The provincial regulatory threshold for particulate matter 375 milligrams.
“This improvement is the result of the continued efforts of all employees at the mill to bring forward short-term solutions while awaiting the installation of the new electrostatic precipitator in 2015,” said Northern Pulp spokesperson David MacKenzie.
He predicts the new precipitator will reduce particulate matter between 30 to 50 milligrams.
While he noted that work on short-term improvements continue daily, the September shutdown will see projects specifically aimed at improving the current state of the plume coming from the recovery boiler.
Specific projects include the installation of a full new set of 1,200 Modo scrubber spray nozzles that will aid in an increased removal of particulate matter.
“This comes at a fairly large sum to us but anything that can help reduce emissions is worth it,” MacKenzie said.
Specialists are being brought in to undertake annual maintenance on the current precipitator and recovery boiler along with mill employees. MacKenzie said no stone will be left unturned in working to improve its operation and decrease the current particulate discharge level.
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Finally, the transition from oil to natural gas will be completed with the installation of natural gas as a backup fuel for the recovery boiler and power boiler for start-up and upset conditions. MacKenzie noted that this should significantly reduce the periods of black smoke during upsets and restarts of the mill.
Whether there will be black smoke when the mill resumes after its scheduled shutdown in September is unknown.
“There is a short commissioning period with natural gas installation so we’re not sure if that will be finalized before the mill resumes operations,” said MacKenzie.
In the weeks following the work, he said the pulp mill would undertake an independent stack emissions test to assess results. While what takes place during a maintenance shutdown is usually discussed closer to the date, MacKenzie wanted to be proactive.
“These projects have been planned for the September maintenance shutdown for some time, but we felt that with the current situation it was important for the community to know about the steps we are taking now to reduce particulate matter from the plume while we await the installation of the new electrostatic precipitator in 2015,” he said.
He noted that everyone at Northern Pulp shares the community’s goals of improving stack emissions and all employees are working hard to deliver results.
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