Washington Paper Co. to Gather More Air Data

The Port Townsend Paper Corp. and the Washington Department of Ecology on Aug. 7 announced an agreement calling for the mill to expand its air emissions' data collection. The agreement is in response to recommendations from a recent state Department of Health consultation.

Under the agreement, the company will collect air emissions' data on additional chemicals, evaluate air emissions around the wastewater treatment lagoon, and add an upgraded meteorological center.

The agreed order: •requires the mill to report 18 specific chemicals. •establishes a meteorological station to track temperature, wind speed and direction, relative humidity and barometric pressure. •directs the company to develop a plan for evaluating wastewater treatment lagoon emissions. •details an enhanced complaint tracking system and follow up procedures. The health consultation did not connect mill emissions with some chronic diseases experienced by area residents. The information collected under the order will help better assess possible impacts.

"We now have an agreement in place that helps fill in the health data gaps that have been the subject of much discussion and concern," said Carol Kraege, manager of Ecology's Industrial Section.

The order was signed by Ecology and Port Townsend Paper at the end of July and takes effect immediately. Some of the order's provisions will take three to six months to return information.

The order doesn't limit or change any conditions or requirements of Port Townsend Paper's current air operating permit nor Ecology's authority under the Clean Air Act. Ecology can take enforcement actions against Port Townsend Paper if provisions of the order are not met, and the company has the right to appeal any enforcement of violations.

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