By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News
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The Olympic Region Clean Air Agency will present the information at the Port Angeles Library at 2210 S. Peabody St.
Those who attend will hear the results of a study examining the sources and distribution of atmospheric pollution in Clallam County.
The ORCAA study was triggered by community concern regarding emissions from the $71 million expansion of biomass facilities at the Nippon Paper Industries USA Inc. plant in Port Angeles.
The biomass burner had a measured output of 20 megawatts in December but has been shut down for repairs for most of the past seven months.
Residents in Port Angeles and Sequim expressed concerns about very small ultra-fine particles unregulated by state or federal agencies that they say affect health.
Foes of the biomass burner said the new plant is also considerably larger than its predecessor and so produces more ultra-fine particles — those smaller than 2.5 microns — than the previous plant.
Concerned Sequim residents have said that since Sequim is downwind from Port Angeles during the most common weather conditions, Sequim residents will be directly affected by any pollution created by the Nippon biomass burner.
In June 2012, the city of Sequim sent a letter to ORCAA requesting a monitor that would measure what, if any, emissions from the plant reach the Sequim area, and a study started in 2013.
The study used data from four air monitoring devices in Clallam County, in addition to one previously located at Stevens Middle School in Port Angeles.
According to ORCAA’s Clallam County Saturation Study Plan, the study is expected to measure pollutant volumes and identify the source of pollutants as being biomass or fossil fuel combustion but will not be able to distinguish between the sources.
Fossil fuel pollution could come from cars and trucks or marine traffic, and for biomass, sources include the Nippon plant, home fireplaces, slash and trash burns, and airborne dust.
The study is also expected to identify sites with the highest levels of particulates and the relative contributions from diesel trucks and from both residential and industrial biomass burning.
Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.