Spike in 2016 smell complaints at Kamloops pulp mill

FILE PHOTO - Domtar Mill, Kamloops.

KAMLOOPS – Hopefully the family dog isn’t getting the blame — it might have been Domtar.

Last year the Domtar pulp mill had two events where emissions were higher than normal prompting 42 complaints from the public, up significantly over past years. There were no reported spills, but twice last year the amount of sulfur dioxide emissions released into the air were above the daily maximum, according to the 2016 annual air report submitted by Kristin Dangelmaier, Environmental Manager with Domtar Kamloops.

The report says a recovery boiler released excess sulfur dioxide emissions on April 7, 2016 and again on May 4, 2016. The emissions were a result of “operational upset conditions.”

Residents may remember the most recent odour event last February when an unplanned shut down caused emissions to vent into the air bringing the total reduced sulfur to 8.6 parts per billion. Locals took to social media to voice their displeasure with the strong scent that lingered in town.

For comparison, the report states the levels did not exceed four parts per billion in the pair of events in 2016. 

Mill odour was a little higher in 2016 compared to 2015 and received 42 complaints over the year, with 13 coming from one person. There were only 18 community complaints in 2015 and the report suggests that locals are more likely to call in complaints if the smell is frequent, rather than if it’s especially strong.

Seasonal factors like cloud cover, wind direction, and warmer temperatures do impact the frequency of complaints.

To read past coverage on the Kamloops Domtar mill, click here


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