Public hearing on Nippon cooling tower postponed

By Paul Gottlieb
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — A hearing originally set for Monday on a notice for construction of a cooling tower for Nippon Industries USA’s biomass cogeneration plant has been postponed because of new information, an Olympic Region Clean Air Agency spokesman said Monday.

Officials with ORCAA must review new information submitted by the company, spokesman Dan Nelson said.

“ORCAA Engineers need sufficient time to review the new details and incorporate that new information into a revised preliminary determination on the permit,” Nelson said.

The $71 million project, which will burn wood waste to create electricity, is slated for completion next summer, a delay from the previous target date of April due to a longer construction period than anticipated, mill manager Harold Norlund said Monday.

The information relates to the treatment of Elwha River water.

The river water now must be treated because of the sediment released by the removal of the Glines Canyon and Elwha dams, which is part of the $315 million Elwha River Restoration Project.

ORCAA’s review of the information could be complete by Friday, Oct. 12, after which a new 30-day comment period will kick in, Nelson said Monday.

The engineers will review information on “the water that is used and how it used and what will be emitted from that structure,” Nelson said.

“A public hearing should be scheduled some time in November at this point,” Nelson said.

The company wants to build a cooling tower capable of using 5,500 gallons a minute at the cogeneration facility being built at Nippon’s plant at the base of Ediz Hook.

The water from the Elwha River will be used to cool the turbine surface condenser before it is used in the mill, according to Nippon’s permit application.

“Nippon will chemically treat the water to be used in the mill, with chemical addition to occur after the cooling tower cycle such that no additives will be present in the cooling tower,” the application says.

Norlund said the cooling tower allows water to be recycled.

“It’s considered a water conservation device,” he said.

The cogeneration project has been opposed by environmental groups, which say that the project does not adequately address tiny ultrafine particulates in the air created by burning woody mass, while Nippon has said the company is following all state and federal pollution laws.

An ORCAA board meeting at 5 p.m. Oct. 15 at the Sequim Transit Center, 190 W. Cedar St., where air quality monitors for the area will be discussed, will proceed as planned, Nelson said.

Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5060, or at

Last modified: October 01. 2012 6:02PM
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