Contact: Anne Perry Moore, 218-723-2356
Duluth, Minn. -- The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and Virginia Public Utilities recently reached an enforcement settlement that resolved the company's past failure to comply with state air quality rules and permit conditions. As a result, the PUC will pay a $39,300 penalty and took actions to correct identified problems.
The settlement addresses violations of carbon-monoxide, nitrogen-oxide and visible emissions limits that occurred in 2007 during operation of the facility's new, wood-fired boiler.
Virginia Public Utilities provides steam heat for city customers and generates electrical power. In late 2006, the facility added a wood-fired boiler to burn wood biomass harvested in the Virginia area. Adding this type of boiler to its fuel mix lowered the facility's dependence on coal for fuel and reduced its related global climate-change impacts. However, operational problems have caused emissions violations since the boiler's installation. Virginia Public Utilities continues to work with the equipment suppliers to improve the boiler's operation and reduce emissions.
Minnesota law requires owners and operators of facilities with the potential to release air pollutants to have MPCA permits. They must also carefully monitor and maintain equipment because emissions exceeding state standards can degrade air quality. The MPCA offers outreach and training to help facilities meet their permit requirements. For more information on air quality permits and emission standards, call Bob Beresford, MPCA air quality inspector, at 218-723-4664 or 1-800-657-3864.