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  1. 1. Kamloops: Not a Place to Burn Paul Connett, PhD Executive Director American Environmental Health Studies Project (AEHSP) www.AmericanHealthStudies.org pconnett @ gmail .com Kamloops, BC, Sept 1, 2009
  2. 2. The problems with the Kamloops gasification plant <ul><li>1) Inexperience of the operator </li></ul><ul><li>2) Scaling up from a small research project to a commercial operation </li></ul><ul><li>3) This Gasification plant is an incinerator in disguise </li></ul><ul><li>4) Kamloops is not the place to run a burning experiment </li></ul><ul><li>5) Commercial gasification plants have a dismal track record </li></ul>
  3. 3. The problems with the Kamloops gasifying incinerator (continued) <ul><li>6) Burning any kind of waste is dangerous </li></ul><ul><li>7) Creosote treated ties presents a complex burning problem </li></ul><ul><li>8) Creosote treated ties may be the thin end of the wedge </li></ul><ul><li>9) Disposal of toxic by-products </li></ul><ul><li>10) Incineration of any kind threatens local democracy </li></ul>
  4. 4. 1) Inexperience of the operator <ul><li>The company has not a run facility of this type anywhere else - or any other facility! </li></ul><ul><li>This company seems to have more prowess at putting business deals together and attracting government grants than it has in engineering skills </li></ul><ul><li>The people that push these in North Dakota appear to be far more interested in making energy than the subtle problems of air pollution </li></ul>
  5. 5. Stantec, August 25, 2009 <ul><li>Section 4. Air Emissions </li></ul><ul><li>4.1.1 Engine emissions </li></ul><ul><li>The emission rates and stack parameters for the two 1 MW internal combustion engines were calculated based on preliminary data obtained from tests conducted by the Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC 2008;EERC 2009)… no data given </li></ul><ul><li>Table 2 gives estimated emission rates in grams per second for SO2, CO, NOx, PM (PM2.5) </li></ul>
  6. 6. Air Emission data -very limited <ul><li>Does not include data on: </li></ul><ul><li>Nanoparticles </li></ul><ul><li>Dioxins and Furans </li></ul><ul><li>Hydrogen chloride </li></ul><ul><li>Heavy metals </li></ul><ul><li>Only single numbers for pollutants reported - no indication of range of data, or whether the single numbers are averages, highest value or 95% upper confidence numbers. </li></ul>
  7. 7. 2) Scaling up from a research project <ul><li>According to an article published in Environment Protection (eponline.com) date June 2, 2009 </li></ul><ul><li>“ EERC’s power system, which has been under construction for two months , can process 35-40 lbs of fuel per hour” </li></ul><ul><li>Proposed plant in Kamloops would handle 7000 lbs per hour </li></ul><ul><li>Stantec claimed to have used emission levels based on tests by EERC in 2008 and 2009 - how could they have got 2008 emission data, if it had only be running two months in June 2009 ???? </li></ul>
  8. 8. Stantec, August 25, 2009 <ul><li>The emission rates and stack parameters for the two 1 MW internal combustion engines were calculated based on preliminary data obtained from tests conducted by the Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC 2008; EERC 2009)… </li></ul>
  9. 9. Inconsistent claims <ul><li>ACC claims this is a closed loop system. It is not: </li></ul><ul><li>A) because the syn gas is burned in an internal combustion engine </li></ul><ul><li>B) because the facility operates with a flare system </li></ul>
  10. 10. The use of the flare stack <ul><li>“The flare stack will be used for start-up, shut-down, and unplanned events (less than 5% of the time).” </li></ul><ul><li>ACC Permit application to MOE, ( June 2009) </li></ul><ul><li>These are periods of maximum dioxin emissions! </li></ul><ul><li>Could be over one hour a day! </li></ul><ul><li>Could be over 17 days a year! </li></ul>
  11. 11. 4) Kamloops is not the place to run a burning experiment <ul><li>Kamloops has a large population </li></ul><ul><li>Your river is perhaps the most precious you have </li></ul><ul><li>Kamloops has a topography which does not allow ready dispersal of pollutants from its air shed (inversions etc) </li></ul><ul><li>Your air shed is already overburdened </li></ul><ul><li>You have over two times the average background levels in Canada </li></ul>
  12. 12. BC Fine Dust (2006 Ministry of Environment)
  13. 13. 4) Kamloops is not the place to run a burning experiment (cont) <ul><li>You are already suffering the consequences of that pollution </li></ul><ul><li>Higher asthmatic rates etc </li></ul><ul><li>You don’t need to make that worse </li></ul><ul><li>These railroad ties are going to come from a very large region - is this the best location in that whole region to build such a facility? </li></ul>
  14. 14. 5) The track record of commercial gasification plants is dismal <ul><li>See the difference between the claims and the reality of gasification in the report “Incinerators in Disguise” from GreenAction ( greenaction.org ) and GAIA ( no-burn.org ) </li></ul>
  15. 15. There are a few commercial gasifying plants burning clean wood <ul><li>BUT none handling creosote treated wood </li></ul><ul><li>Again this is an experimental facility with very little supporting emission data </li></ul><ul><li>Kamloops is not the place for such an experiment </li></ul>
  16. 16. GASIFICATION, PYROLYSIS <ul><li>Engineering consultants’ view: </li></ul><ul><li>“ Many of the perceived benefits of gasification and pyrolysis over combustion technology proved to be unfounded. These perceptions have arisen mainly from inconsistent comparisons in the absence of quality information.” </li></ul><ul><li>Fichtner Consulting Engineers Ltd, Stockport, Cheshire, March, 2004 </li></ul>
  17. 17. <ul><li>Lurgi (a major engineering company) pulled out of the gasification business in 2003 (see letter) </li></ul>
  18. 18. 6. Burning any kind of waste is dangerous <ul><li>Burning produces toxic air emissions </li></ul><ul><li>Burning is never complete - YOU ALWAYS GET products of incomplete combustion (PICs) </li></ul><ul><li>Elements cannot be destroyed with burning. Any toxic metals present in the waste are released </li></ul><ul><li>As you get better at protecting the air, the collected residues (solid or wet - fly ash of scrubbing effluent) are more toxic and more expensive to get rid of </li></ul>
  20. 20. Incineration and nanoparticles <ul><li>Nanoparticles are not efficiently captured by air pollution control devices </li></ul><ul><li>Travel long distances </li></ul><ul><li>Remain suspended for long periods of time (especially during air inversions over cities) </li></ul><ul><li>Penetrate deep into the lungs </li></ul>
  21. 21. We already know that air particulate matter causes many health problems
  22. 22. RESPIRATORY PROBLEMS related to air particulate <ul><li>Allergies </li></ul><ul><li>Asthma </li></ul><ul><li>Acute and chronic bronchitis </li></ul><ul><li>Emphysemia </li></ul><ul><li>lung Cancer </li></ul>PM 10 PM 2,5 Slide from Dr. Ferninando Largi
  23. 23. BLOOD Nano particles are so small they can easily cross the lung membrane
  24. 24. Nano Pathology <ul><li>Once nanoparticles have entered the bloodstream they can easily cross the membranes of every tissue in the body. </li></ul>
  25. 25. Nano Pathology <ul><li>They can even cross the blood brain barrier </li></ul>
  26. 26. 7) Creosote treated ties presents a complex burning problem <ul><li>Creosote is derived from coal tar </li></ul><ul><li>It contains over 200 compounds including </li></ul><ul><li>benzene, </li></ul><ul><li>phenols, </li></ul><ul><li>polyaromatics </li></ul><ul><li>Many of these substances are carcinogenic </li></ul><ul><li>All are precursors for dioxin and furan formation when burned if there is a source of chlorine available. Chloride ion is present in wood. </li></ul><ul><li>Commercial wood burners emit dioxin </li></ul>
  27. 27. 8) Creosote treated ties may be the thin end of the wedge <ul><li>A huge concern is that in addition to creosote treated ties </li></ul><ul><li>The plant will “accidentally” or out of “economic necessity” burn ties, or other wood, treated with pentachlorophenol or copper chromium arsenate </li></ul><ul><li>And/or wood derived from construction and demolition debris </li></ul>
  28. 28. 9) Handling of the residues presents another burden on the community <ul><li>The plant will produce solid residues - bottom or furnace ash/char and possibly fly ash </li></ul><ul><li>If a wet scrubbing system is used it will also produce a liquid effluent </li></ul><ul><li>These will be passed onto the community for disposal </li></ul><ul><li>This may be a blessing in disguise as it will provide a point of intervention by local decision makers </li></ul>
  29. 29. Local intervention <ul><li>1) Councilors should be encouraged to set up a “task force” to investigate the impacts that this facility will have on the local community, which can have far broader terms of reference than the provincial bureaucratic assessment. </li></ul><ul><li>2) A full environmental impact assessment needs to be undertaken to assess the impacts of local disposal of the solid and liquid effluents from this facility. </li></ul>