Tolko operations shift in Lavington

Time is running out for anyone wanting to air their concerns over an air discharge permit at Lavington’s Tolko sawmill.

The Tolko sawmill in Lavington has received an amended draft air discharge permit

The Tolko sawmill in Lavington has received an amended draft air discharge permit

Time is running out for anyone wanting to air their concerns over an air discharge permit at Lavington’s Tolko sawmill.

The draft permit will be posted until the end of Tuesday, Dec. 20 at http://tolko.com/responsibility/environmental-social/tolko-lavington-draft-permit.

Questions and/or comments during this period should be sent to both environment@tolko.com and authorizations.south@gov.bc.ca

But the short time line has raised some concerns.

“The draft permit should be open to broad public review, including a public open house,” said Tom Coape-Arnold, of Lavington LIFE.

“The consultation report, as required by MOE (Ministry of Environment), should also be released for public information.”

The process has been underway since July, when an Environmental Protection Notice was filed due to a change in conditions and emissions reduction from the Jeffers Drive planer mill. The new permit is necessary following upgrades made following the pellet plant project.

The draft permit includes provisions for a  dust monitoring plan, fugitive dust control and other plans and measures.

The amendments include the elimination of the silo-type woodwaste burner, chip loading tower and sawmill chip cyclones. It also shows an increased number of natural gas fired lumber dry kilns from two to five (with maximum flows increasing from eight m3/min to 129), an added sawdust cyclone and sawmill dust cyclones.

With those changes the total emissions from the plant have been reduced.

“The emissions sources and permitted emissions in the draft permit are the same as the changes we had communicated to the public in the summer notification process,” said Michael Towers, Tolko’s manager of energy and environment.

Tolko will also be responsible for receiving complaints on the environmental performance of the facility.

“The permittee must follow up with each complaint, investigate and resolve as appropriate,” reads the permit.

But the permit does not include requirements for a site-specific Environmental Management Plan – among other provisions that were set out in a policy paper issued by MOE in 2015 on the wood processing industry code of practice.

MOE has been monitoring fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in Lavington for over a year now and results show no exceedences from provincial objectives.