Air monitoring devices installed in Port Angeles; one coming to Sequim next month

By Paul Gottlieb
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — The Olympic Region Clean Air Agency is completing the installation of three new air-quality monitors in Port Angeles and hopes to have a fourth one installed in Sequim by mid-February.

An ORCAA information technology staff person helped assemble the monitors, saving about $12,000, ORCAA Executive Director Fran McNair said this week.

“Hopefully, in the next couple of weeks, we can start getting data,” she said.

The monitors used in a two-year study will be placed in Port Townsend in 2014. No locations have been determined.

The temporary monitors will gauge air pollution for two years to assess the impact of a 20-megawatt, $71 million Nippon Paper Industries USA biomass cogeneration project that is expected to be completed in September and a 24-megawatt, $55 million biomass cogeneration project at Port Townsend Paper Corp.

The monitors are inaccessible to the public and can be read remotely from the agency’s Olympia office.

In Port Angeles, they have been placed at Stevens Middle School at 1139 W. 14th St., the Fifth Street fire station and the Port Angeles Library, 2210 S. Peabody St., McNair said.

They will be made fully operational Friday, Odelle Hadley, ORCAA’s senior air-monitoring specialist, said Wednesday.

The fourth monitor will be placed at an as-yet-undecided location in Sequim, McNair said.

They will measure particulate matter 0.3 microns and larger, while biomass project opponents have said smaller unregulated particulate matter is also dangerous to health.

All four devices, each of which includes a $3,500 particulate counter, altogether cost $16,000.

They include computer equipment, tubing and special container boxes.

McNair said ORCAA is still reviewing Nippon’s cooling tower permit application for the cogeneration plant, which will burn wood waste to create electricity.

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5060, or at paul.gottlieb@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: January 30. 2013 6:07PM
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