Corvallis fiberglass plant continues quest for pollution permit | Local
A virtual hearing scheduled for Thursday, July 21 gives the community a chance to talk about a controversial Corvallis fiberglass plant seeking an enhanced air pollution permit.
The plant, which sits on the bank of the Willamette River in South Corvallis, has clashed with environmental regulators in the past. Hollingsworth & Vose officials said it was because they had the wrong type of permit, a situation they hope to rectify.
The facility operates two glass-making furnaces, and the glass is used to produce fibers used as filtration media and battery separators, according to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.
The DEQ hearing begins at 6 p.m. and seeks public comment on H&V’s proposed air quality permit, known as the Standard Air Contaminant Discharge Permit, a prerequisite for a higher emissions permit. known as Title V permits.
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A standard air contaminant discharge permit would allow the company to continue to operate at the highest emissions of a Title V permit until such a permit is issued, according to the DEQ.
Under the previous permit, the Department of Environmental Quality demanded that Hollingsworth & Vose pay $240,000 in fines and costs for excessive emissions, but allowed the company to continue operating its plant on the edge. from the river, 1115 SE Crystal Lake Drive, when she asked for a higher level. permit.
Don’t wait for calls
Thursday’s hearing was scheduled despite requests for a delay to give time to two appeals that claim the plant is not following local zoning rules, according to a press release from the Corvallis-based appealers.
In March, Corvallis executives backed a city hall administrative-level decision that could lead to a new, different air emissions permit for the company. To obtain the higher-level permit, the company first needed a statement from the city that its use of the land is compatible with the general neighborhood.
When first town staff and then Corvallis Town Manager Mark Shepard in 2021 determined this was the case, a group appealed to town council, asking members to reverse Shepard’s decision. confirming the staff’s decision and authorizing public testimony. They didn’t, ultimately backing the city manager in a 7-1 vote.
The pending appeals allege the increased emissions are “industrial intensification that conflicts with the zoning laws of this grandfathered industrial site.” Both appeals were filed with the state Land Use Appeal Board in April.
The appellant group believes that Hollingsworth & Vose betrayed the public trust when it was discovered in 2015 that the plant had been operating under the wrong type of air emissions permit for almost 20 years and had emitted levels of carbon monoxide carbon and fluorides much higher than those allowed.
The group alleges the plant has remained in non-compliance with state permits and local zoning since 2015, calling the permit application an attempt to legalize increased pollution after the fact.
“H&V carried out emissions system retrofits in 2018, but they are still applying for a permit that allows more than triple the volume of regulated pollutants (1128 tonnes/year) than what was allowed under their previous permit (349 tonnes/year) the appellants’ press release. states.
The appellants include former city councilor and planning commissioner Tony Howell, former city councilor Barbara Bull and Jeremy Monroe. In the press release, Monroe said that after the 2015 air pollution breach and two river spills in the past decade, he and his neighbors were keeping a close eye on the DEQ and the company.
“We must now closely watch our city, which has worked hard to welcome a negligent polluter, while rejecting the visions (and codes) of the Willamette River Greenway, the South Corvallis Refinement Plan and the health and public safety. concerns of citizens,” Monroe said.
Bull said in the press release that the city manager had not provided a public review process after years of groundwork focused on the fiberglass site. And Howell said it felt like a betrayal on the part of the city and the company to ignore code language derived from community feedback.
The business perspective
Company officials say the permit the company is seeking is the “strictest aerial permit” DEQ can issue for the plant, according to an advance statement from Hollingsworth & Vose Corvallis site manager Cindy Frost. . She said the company has made “significant investments in the community and its operations.”
A March email from Hollingsworth & Vose spokesman Andrew Thompson noted the installation of a “state-of-the-art emissions control system”, which he said was very effective in reduce particulate and fluoride emissions and waste water discharges.
In the email, Thompson cited his collaboration with DEQ on collecting a year of CO data through ambient air monitoring around the facility, showing what he said were “extremely low” CO levels – less than a tenth of the Environmental Protection Agency’s air quality standard threshold.
Register for the Zoom hearing online on the DEQ website. To attend by phone, call 888-475-4499 or 877-853-5257. Webinar ID: 889 1615 7980 and access code 717783.
Written comments may also be submitted for the public record by mailing, faxing or emailing: Suzy Luttrell DEQ Permits Coordinator 4026 Fairview Industrial Drive SE Salem, OR 97302 Fax: 503-378-4196 Email: suzy. [email protected] Written comments are due by 5 p.m. on Thursday, August 4.