Despite improvements made by Domtar to reduce odour, complaints are on the rise.
A company representative was at city council on Tuesday, presenting its annual air quality report.
In 2018, the mill received 45 odour complaints, the majority of which occurred during warmer months when winds blow from the mill to the North Shore and downtown.
The air quality report notes the spreading of biosolids on nearby farmland “may have resulted in some complaints being attributed to Domtar incorrectly during August and early September.”
Domtar’s environmental manager, Kirstin Dangelmaier, said the company continues to manage what is within its control and has gone above and beyond what is required to be compliant.
The company spent $3.5 million last year on environmental improvements at the Mission Flats mill. Installation of a $1-million electro-static precipitator — which cleans particulate emissions — last spring resulted in a 20 per cent particulate reduction.
In addition, a $2.5-million bleach plant scrubber allowed the mill to eliminate liquid sulphur dioxide from its manufacturing process. The colourless gas, which apparently smells like a struck match, reacts with other air pollutants to form fine particulate matter.
“This was absolutely critical from both an environmental and a safety reason, as liquid SO2 was the most hazardous material that we had on our mill site,” Dangelmaier said.
Asked about future plans, she said projects are in the works aimed at further environmental emissions improvements.
No details, however, were disclosed.
Asked about strategies pulp mills can take to reduce odour, Dangelmaier noted ongoing control.
Typically odour issues arise from operational issues, she said, adding technology is well understood and developed.
“A well-managed, well-maintained operation helps to drive towards fewer odour incidents, fewer odour upsets,” Dangelmaier said.
“That includes identifying where you might have opportunity to capture additional sources and treat those additional sources.”