Hearing set for torrefaction plant air permit

The Malheur Lumber Co. mill in John Day.

Malheur Lumber received a small fine for air pollution in 2018.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality fined Ochoco Lumber Company, doing business as Malheur Lumber Company, $2,400 for exceeding the grain loading particulate matter emission limit in their Air Contaminant Discharge Permit, according to a DEQ press release.

The violation occurred Nov. 7, 2018, during an emissions test of one of the boilers at Malheur Lumber.

Ochoco Chief Operating Officer Wanda Rasmussen said a stack test on a boiler was out of compliance so they retested it.

“It was reduced down substantially knowing that we got it tested as quick as possible and did the right things, and it was reduced to $2,400,” Rasmussen said.

The report from DEQ states that they appreciated the efforts to correct the violation by tuning up and retesting the boiler and demonstrating compliance with the grain loading limit. DEQ considered this effort when determining the amount of civil penalty.

“Our stance was that the test results came out of scope of what the boiler usually performs at and the testing company didn’t have experienced people on site,” Rasmussen said. “We’ve figured that there was a lot of mitigating circumstances to say we shouldn’t have the penalty, but that’s your rules. We had it retested, and everything was fine.”

Rasmussen said that Ochoco works well with DEQ, their permit writer and his team.

Reporter

Rudy Diaz is a reporter for the Blue Mountain Eagle. Contact him at rudy@bmeagle.com or 541-575-0710.

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