October 8, 2007

Air quality permit granted for new wallboard plant using FGD byproduct as feedstock

The Atlantic Wallboard Limited Partnership (AWLP) has been granted an air quality operating approval for a gypsum wallboard manufacturing plant the company intends to operate at the former Saint John Shipbuilding property in east Saint John, New Brunswick. Provincial Environment Minister Roland Haché issued the approval following public consultation on the proposal which included a 120-day public review period from mid-March through mid-August.

"As there were no issues raised by the public that require further formal consideration, I am issuing this facility an initial three-year operating approval, effective October 1, 2007," Haché said.

The facility will manufacture commercial-grade wallboard products for the construction industry. The project is part of a larger planned redevelopment of the former shipyard into a green industrial park. The plant will use synthetic gypsum (also referred to as desulfogypsum or DSG) produced by the flue gas desulfurization (FGD) system at New Brunswick Power's Coleson Cove generating station as the main raw material in its production of wallboard products. Over time, synthetic gypsum from Coleson Cove will be supplemented, as needed, by natural gypsum or synthetic gypsum from other sources.

Issues and concerns raised during the public review period focused primarily on the nature and quantity of emissions from the facility, including greenhouse gas (GHG) and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

The only significant source of emissions to the environment from the new facility is expected to be particulate matter (PM) from gypsum. The facility will use baghouse technology to mitigate any potential PM impacts by approximately 90%. As well, three or four high-volume monitoring stations will be installed around the plant to verify that there are no PM impacts to the surrounding area.

Other raw and process materials, such as vermiculite and glass fibres as well as chemical dispersant, foaming agent, wax emulsion and retarder will all be handled within site buildings, so no external emissions from any of these materials are anticipated.

AWLP estimates that the facility will release a total of 81,680 tonnes of CO2 annually from all heat sources as a result of combustion of natural gas. The company has worked to make the plant facility one of the most fuel-efficient wallboard facilities possible. The dryer-the facility's largest single energy consumer-is a state-of-the-art unit, its CO2 emissions reduced even further by efficiencies to be gained from a large heat recovery system. Reduction of the amount of fuel used for process heat will also directly reduce the amount of CO2 and other contaminant emissions. Calculations developed as part of the environmental impact assessment for the plant indicate that as one of six industrial sites releasing PM, CO2, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides to the Saint John airshed, it will contribute only minimally to added emissions of these contaminants.

Documentation relating to the review process, including a facility profile, draft and intended approvals, and summaries of issues raised (and responses to them) may be viewed on the Department of Environment Web site, www.gnb.ca/0009/0355/0005/I-5726_E.html.

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