The Idaho agency is raising new questions about air pollution from Dynamis Energys proposed 408-ton, 22-megawatt trash-to-energy plant at the Ada County landfill.
Based upon its review of materials Dynamis submitted in its air quality application, DEQ has determined the projects potential to emit mercury emissions is greater than the annual threshold.
DEQ said Dynamis also must demonstrate compliance on dioxin and furan emissions.
Until these issues are resolved, DEQ cannot issue a draft permit to construct to Dynamis, wrote Mike Simon, DEQ Air Quality Division manager.
The application includes results from tests performed more than two decades ago at a garbage-gasification plant in Barrow, Alaska, that a Dynamis engineer designed.
In its response to DEQ, Dynamis said mercury content in waste has decreased substantially since the tests were performed in the early 1990s. Dynamis said DEQ needs to consider that when reviewing its application.
Dynamis told DEQ it is confident its plants mercury emissions would fall below the threshold without additional controls. It did agree to conduct a best available control technology analysis for mercury an emission standard based on the maximum degree of reduction achievable when considering energy, economic and environmental impacts.
Simon said Thursday DEQ is waiting for Dynamis to submit that analysis. Once DEQ receives all the information, which could still be weeks away, it will hold a 30-day public-comment period on its proposed action.
The Dynamis project has become a central issue facing the Ada commissioners, and was a primary factor in the electoral defeat of Commissioner Sharon Ullman, a strong Dynamis supporter.
The DEQ letter is one of several recent developments that could affect the project. The countys handling of the project is already the subject of an investigation and two lawsuits filed by groups saying the county violated several state laws in approving the project.
Bannock County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Hiedeman received an investigators voluminous report this week and it will take some time to review. Hiedeman will decide whether allegations the county broke state law are founded and whether further investigation or charges are warranted.
In July, Ada County Prosecutor Greg Bower asked Hiedeman to conduct the inquiry, and Bower and Sheriff Gary Raney appointed a retired FBI agent to investigate and submit a report to Hiedeman.
THE $2-MILLION PAYMENT
On Nov. 14, Ada County Commissioners Rick Yzaguirre, Ullman and Dave Case unanimously voted to send Dynamis a letter demanding repayment within 90 days of the $2 million the county gave it in 2010, saying the facilitys design is complete. The commissioners have yet to receive a response.
COMMISSIONERS RESPONSE TO P&Z
On Nov. 14, the Ada County Planning & Zoning Commission wrote the county commissioners recommending no permits be issued until Dynamis submits a conditional-use-permit application and a regular public hearing is scheduled.
The approval of this project did not afford the public and affected persons the opportunity to comment publicly, P&Z Chairman John Seidl wrote.
The P&Z Commission held a Nov. 8 meeting attended by more than 150 people, many of whom complained about a lack of public involvement since the county struck a deal with Dynamis in 2010.
As of Thursday, the county commissioners had not responded to the P&Z letter.
The P&Z Commission included 150 pages of written comments. The Idaho Statesman requested copies of the comments from Ada County, but the county said it would cost the newspaper $110 for the county to have an attorney edit protected information out of the public comments before releasing them.
Cynthia Sewell: 377-6428, Twitter: @CynthiaSewell