Letter: Not confident in draft permit

At the invitation of Atlantic Power Williams Lake (APWL), on June 28 I attended the open house regarding the draft permit.

Editor:

At the invitation of Atlantic Power Williams Lake (APWL), on June 28 I attended the open house regarding the draft permit issued by The Ministry of Environment (MOE) regarding the burning of preservative treated railway ties.

The officials in attendance from APWL and MOE and contractors retained and compensated by APWL attempted to convince me that all was well with the burning of ties under the latest, draft permit.

However, they were unsuccessful in appeasing my concern with the draft permit allowing the discharge of 271 tonnes per year of HCL (hydrogen chloride gas).

This is a new allowance — the previous permit of 2012 permitted zero discharge of HCL.

HCL readily combines with moisture: lakes, rivers, plants, lungs and skin, to form hydrochloric acid, a corrosive substance, deleterious to human, animal and vegetation health, in addition to vehicles and buildings.

HCL in the atmosphere can result in acid rain.

Additionally, the draft permit stipulates monitoring and testing to be performed by APWL themselves, rather than an “arms-length” regulatory agency. This does not inspire confidence.

The draft permit 8808 makes no requirement of “Scrubbers” equipment to reduce HCL emissions from smoke stacks.

I humbly suggest this is a serious omission, notwithstanding my view that 271 tonnes of HCL gas emission allowed annually by the draft permit is wholly unacceptable, especially in a community situated in a valley with minimal air circulation.

I humbly request the emission of HCL gas be eliminated by scrubbers or otherwise seriously curtailed or prohibited to protect the health of residents of Williams Lake and area.

John Pickford

Williams Lake