A wood pellet production facility in Ahoskie has to install new air pollution control devices to reduce pollutant emissions under a newly issued modified air quality permit.
Under the newly modified permit, Enviva Pellets’ flagship plant in Hertford County must install a regenerative thermal oxidizer and a regenerative catalytic/thermal oxidizer to cut volatile organic compounds, or VOC, and hazardous air pollutants, or HAP, emissions.
A thermal oxidizer creates heat that converts emissions into carbon dioxide and water.
The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality said Thursday that the permit modifications will reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides and particular matter, including fine particulate matter.
The Title V permit allows the plant to increase its pellet production from 481,000 oven dried tons to 630,000 oven dried tons per year and the production of softwood pellets to a maximum of 100%, according to a DEQ news release.
Enviva Pellets Ahoskie began manufacturing pellets in November 2011 and it has been considered a major source under the Prevention of Significant Deterioration program, one established by Congress to prevent significant environmental impacts on regions where air quality meets the protective health standards under the Clean Air Act.
After the controls are installed and tested, the company will be a minor source under the program. The permit restricts the facility’s VOC emissions to less than 250 tons per year and hazardous air pollutant emissions to less than 10 tons per year.
The facility will be required to conduct stack testing if monthly softwood content or the production rate increases by more than 10%.
The permit updates follow a public hearing and comment period held last year on a draft permit for the facility.
Under the modified permit, the plant must submit a new fugitive dust plan to the Division of Air Quality within 90 days of installing new control devices to show how it will maintain and operate equipment while preventing dust from drifting beyond the property’s boundaries.
Residents concerned about dust at Enviva Pellets Ahoskie should contact the division’s Washington Regional Office at 252-946-6481.
Enviva Pellets Ahoskie operates 24/7 and has a production capacity of about 410,00 metric tons, according to the company’s website.
The final permit and other documents related to the permit are available online.