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2020 data says pulp mill smell was reduced, but odour complaints rose

Domtar’s mill stack odour last year was “slightly lower” than the previous two years, but there were 50 complaints, 14 more than in 2019.
The Domtar pulp mill is on Mission Flats Road in Kamloops.

Odour resulting from the Domtar pulp mill high stack in Kamloops was reduced in 2020, compared to the two years prior, but community odour complaints increased.

According to Domtar’s 2020 Annual Air Report — which is a requirement as part of the mill’s air permit and was sent to the city at the beginning of March — mill stack odour last year was “slightly lower” than the previous two years and remains significantly down following improvements beginning in 2013.

Despite that, however, the company said community complaints about odour in fact rose last year. There were 50 complaints in 2020, compared to 36 complaints in 2019.

“The majority of the complaints continue to occur in the warmer months due to a combination of wind- and weather-driven reduced dispersion effects, coinciding with increased outdoor activity by the general public,” the report states.

More people could be found out and about in the community last year, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

The report also noted Domtar’s sulfur, sulfur dioxide and particulate matter emissions were in compliance with permits and operating limits throughout the year.

“In 2020, there were zero occurrences of permit non-compliance,” the report states.