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EPA Receives First Environmental Performance Report for Pulp Mill

15 April 2009
The Director EPA Warren Jones has received the first Environmental Performance Report from Gunns in relation to the proposed Bell Bay pulp mill. "A requirement of the Pulp Mill Permit under the Pulp Mill Assessment Act 2007 is for an Environmental Performance Report to be submitted to the Director EPA each year," Mr Jones said. "This first Environmental Performance Report consists of information obtained from a number of baseline environmental monitoring activities up until the end of November 2008." "It covers air quality, environmental noise, meteorology, odour, ground water, fresh, marine and estuarine water quality and marine ecology." Mr Jones said an air monitoring station at Rowella has been in operation since mid 2005, collecting baseline data on a number of air quality parameters. "Perhaps the most interesting result during this first period was the number of exceedances of the operational investigation levels for ambient TRS (Total Reduced Sulphur) odours," Mr Jones said. "TRS is the sum of the odorous sulphur compounds that might be generated by the mill during the pulping process". "Odours from kraft pulp mills can be transported over long distances and require careful management so as not to cause nuisance. The proposed pulp mill is required to have a comprehensive system to collect and destroy TRS compounds." "This first report has found that current TRS levels at Rowella, i.e. without the pulp mill, are sometimes above the trigger level defined in the pulp mill permit. When the mill is operating if the trigger level is exceeded for several consecutive measurement periods, Gunns would be required to investigate whether the mill is a source of TRS. " "This monitoring to date shows that there are other sources of TRS which may also need to be considered in the event of the TRS trigger level being reached during the operational phase of the proposed pulp mill." "By identifying what environmental conditions are like now, before the pulp mill starts operating, we can be more confident in assessing potential environmental impacts once operation commences." Mr Jones said the Environmental Performance Report is publicly available on the Gunns pulp mill website.