NC Agency Taking Action on Methyl Bromide Use

"As more businesses seek to use methyl bromide at log fumigation sites in our state, the lack of specific federal or state regulatory measures for the use of this hazarous air pollutant creates a potential public health risk we must address," said DEQ Division of Air Quality Director Mike Abraczinskas.

The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Air Quality is taking action on the use of methyl bromide, a toxic fumigant, in log fumigation operations. A review of current and proposed facilities, including the Malec Brothers Transport operation in Columbus County, N.C., "made clear the need for specific state regulations for methyl bromide use," the agency announced July 26.

"As more businesses seek to use methyl bromide at log fumigation sites in our state, the lack of specific federal or state regulatory measures for the use of this hazarous air pollutant creates a potential public health risk we must address," said Mike Abraczinskas, the division's director.

The division will recommend the Environmental Management Commission develop a rule to require log fumigation operations to take appropriate measures to safeguard public health. DAQ will also ask the Secretaries' Scientific Advisory Board to consider the need to establish an Acceptable Ambient Level for methyl bromide and to designate it as a state Toxic Air Pollutant and will use its permitting responsibility to ensure the public's safety. DAQ intends to require permit holders to capture and control a minimum of 90 percent of methyl bromide emissions; the agency reported its research shows feasible capture and control technologies exist and should be included in all permit applications.

"After additional review, we concluded a multi-faceted approach was vital to safeguard the public health and address the significant community concerns about these facilities," said Abraczinskas.

As proposed, the Malec Brothers Transport facility would be the largest methyl bromide log fumigation site in the state. DAQ has directed Malec Brothers Transport to provide more information on additional monitoring and safety measures -- specifically, they must provide a plan for capture and control technology and operation limits to safeguard public health. The application is on hold until the requested information is received and evaluated by DAQ permitting staff.

Also, DAQ is notifying five existing permitted facilities of the intent to modify their permits to require additional control measures and appropriate monitoring protocols.

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