Syncrude granted approval for restart of Mildred Lake FGD unit
FORT MCMURRAY, ALTA-Syncrude Canada has begun a phased start-up of the new flue gas desulfurization (FGD) unit at its Mildred Lake plant, 40 kilometres north of Fort McMurray, after receiving regulatory approval from Alberta Environment to resume operations of the facilities. In mid-May, complaints from residents of the Wood Buffalo region about odours prompted the department to issue Syncrude an environmental protection order requiring the unit to shut down. The order also directed the company to submit an action plan detailing measures to be taken to avoid odor emissions during the restart of the unit. As part of this plan, Syncrude has reviewed the start-up plan with local stakeholders and will continue consultation with these groups throughout the start-up period. The start-up will be conducted over several weeks before the units reach full operation, in order to monitor possible odours and address concerns about the operation of Syncrude's expansion facilities. The FGD will initially go online by treating tail gas from the sulfur recovery plants. Once reliable operations are achieved in that stage, feed will be introduced into Coker 8-3, most likely in late July. Alberta Environment will also be involved in each step of the restart, including air monitoring to be conducted by the department's mobile air monitoring lab. As part of the approval, Syncrude must produce daily status reports, hold daily assessment meetings and submit a weekly written progress report to the department. Regular operational updates will be posted on the company's Web site, www.syncrude.com.