Wis. fiber mill settles air pollution violations

Nick Rees Mar. 2, 2010, 10:00am

Van Hollen

WAUSAU, Wis. (Legal Newsline) - The owners of a fiber mill screening processing facility in Ringle, Wis., have agreed to a settlement with state Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen over violations of state air pollution laws.

Fiber Recovery Inc., the owner of the Ringle facility, will pay $95,000 to settle the state's case.

The Ringle facility is used to turn paper mill screenings into paper and wood pellets, which are then sold as boiler fuel. Landfill gas-fired generators are used at the facility as part of the production process.

Under Wisconsin law, a permit must be obtained and followed to control the emissions of air pollutants from the facility. A permit was issued in 2007 by the Department of Natural Resources authorizing construction and initial operation of three landfill gas-fired generators as well as modification and initial operation of a wood/paper pelletizing dryer.

Fiber Recovery, the state's complaint alleged, violated its air permit through its failure to timely perform testing of the stack that vents the emissions from the generators and dryer.

Other violations included exceeding the nitrogen oxide limit during one testing, failing to update the facility's Malfunction Prevention and Abatement Plan to include the new generators and modified dryer, failing to maintain accurate technical drawings for facility stacks, and failing to use hourly landfill gas logs to tally daily and monthly usage.

The company was also alleged to have violated state regulations by drying a test load of sludge without a research and testing exemption.

Compliance has since been shown by Fiber Recovery with all permit limits. The company has also corrected all sampling and record keeping deficiencies.

"Fiber Recovery has properly acted to ensure future compliance with permit requirements designed to protect the public from harmful air emissions," Van Hollen said. "The Wisconsin Department of Justice will continue to work with the DNR to ensure that Wisconsin's citizens and natural resources are protected through compliance with the law."

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