Are Pinnacle Pellet’s emissions safe?

Lakes District News asked the plant's management and the province if emissions are safe

After receiving complaints from a local resident concerned about smoke coming from Burns Lake’s Pinnacle Pellet plant, Lakes District News asked the plant’s management and the province if emission levels were safe.

Leroy Reitsma, president and chief operation officer for Pinnacle Renewable Energy, said the Burns Lake plant went through a shut down and restart on Monday Nov. 14, which resulted in “some higher emissions.”

“Also, at this time of year, when we move from sub to above zero temperatures during the course of the day, the fibre piles tend to steam more, which may be mistaken for emissions versus steam,” he continued.

“Our quarterly testing is showing very favourable results, with the most recent tests being conducted in September,” he added. “The plant is running well.”

According to the Ministry of Environment, the facility has been inspected twice this year by the ministry’s compliance officers – on April 7 and April 26. The ministry said both of those inspections resulted in advisories being issued to the company – in one case for an “exceedance of the total particulate matter” allowed.

Reitsma said Pinnacle was “a little over the limit” in that testing.

“We got to the root cause [of the problem]; we had to increase the amount of cleaning we were doing of the water,” he said. “The problem has since been dealt with and things are running good.”

The Ministry of Environment issues air quality advisories jointly with Northern Health when concentrations of fine particulate matter exceeds or is predicted to exceed certain thresholds which may pose a risk to human health.

Ambient concentrations of fine particulate matter for the region are also measured in real time and the data is displayed at http://www.bcairquality.ca/readings/index.html

Environmental concerns or complaints should be reported to the report all poachers and polluters line toll free at 1-877-952-7277 or environmentalcomplaints@gov.bc.ca