State environmental regulators have begun testing for particulate levels in the air around a glass fiber factory in south Corvallis.
The Department of Environmental Quality announced it has installed monitoring equipment at four sites near the Hollingsworth & Vose plant at 1115 SE Crystal Lake Drive.
Neighbors have been calling on the agency to provide better data on emissions from the H&V plant since late 2015, when DEQ officials revealed that the factory had been operating under the wrong class of air pollution permit for almost 20 years and had been putting out much higher levels of carbon monoxide and fluoride compounds than its permit allowed.
The plant has been allowed to continue operating while company officials go through an application process for the proper permits.
People living near the plant have expressed particular concerns about glass fibers coming out of the stacks at H&V, but that’s not something that has been specifically measured by the company or DEQ before.
The tripod-mounted monitors installed late last month by DEQ will collect samples that will be analyzed for type and quantity of particulate matter, including glass fibers, to determine whether further action by the agency is warranted under environmental regulations.
“Basically (the monitor) contains a pump, and the pump pulls air through a filter,” explained Tom Roick, manager of the DEQ’s air quality monitoring program. “It’s the filter we actually collect, and we take that to a laboratory.”
Air quality monitors have been installed at First Alternative Natural Food Co-op, 1007 SE Third St.; Crytsal Lake Sports Fields, 100 SE Fischer Lane; Lincoln Elementary School, 100 SE Alexander Ave.; and a private residence in the 1500 block of Southeast Crystal Lake Drive.
Over the next few weeks, DEQ will collect 10 samples at each of the four monitoring stations, staggering the sampling times to get data for different days of the week.
Once the laboratory results have been analyzed, DEQ will post the air monitoring data online at http://bit.ly/2sQcu0s.
The machines, which cost about $4,000 apiece, were purchased with money set aside by the Legislature for additional air quality monitoring, Roick said. Funding for staff time to do the monitoring comes from permit fees paid by industry.
Last month, Hollingsworth & Vose began installing new emissions control equipment at the plant. The company has declined to say how much money it’s investing in the 18 ceramic dry filtration units, but building permit applications on file with the city of Corvallis put the value of the project at $7.8 million.
“It’s a very big project,” said Val Hollingsworth, president and CEO of the family-owned firm. “We’re replacing a (40- to 50-year-old) water-based scrubbing system with a state-of-the-art dry system.”
Company officials say the work should be completed by late July or early August. Once the new equipment comes on line, H&V says, it will eliminate 99 percent of all filterable particulates, reduce fluoride emissions, lower noise levels, cut the plant’s water use by at least 80 percent and all but eliminate the visible steam plume coming out of the stacks.
Hollingsworth & Vose has also installed a weather station, a carbon monoxide ambient air monitor and four stack-mounted carbon monoxide monitors.
Notes from FAN:
— This is the second incident in Oregon where an industry did not report its fluoride emissions. The first issue was Intel in Hillsboro, Oregon, which emitted fluoride from its large manufacturing site since 1978 but never informed the state’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) nor did the DEQ consider to ask -even though software manufacturing is a major source of fluorine entering the environment. See news report in The Oregonian, Intel has been emitting fluoride for years without state knowledge, permit, Sept 13, 2013.
— See chemicals from EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory reported by Hollingsworth & Vose from 1988 to 2009.
- January 2016. Fluoride Air Dispersion Modeling Report. Hollingsworth & Vose Fiber Company, by Golder Associates Inc. A description of “the modeling methodology and input data that was used to conduct ambient air modeling of HF and F for comparison to accepted risk -based chronic exposure thresholds at nearby residential locations (i.e. at locations where long term exposure could occur).”
- 2016. Report from H&V’s facility in Georgia: Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) Application. Hollingsworth & Vose Company, Hyalus, Inc. Facility. By Golder Associates Inc. “The Fluorides emission rate is a controlled emission rate based on 98% or better control of filterable fluoride particles. The facility is requesting a federally enforceable limit of 2.9 tons/year. Therefore, PSD permitting will not be applicable to Fluorides emissions (Table 2-2, page 11).”
- 2016. State of Oregon Department of Environmental Quality on Hollingsworth & Vose Fiber Company: Air Quality Questions and Answers.