Thursday, February 21, 2013 —
The Division of Air Quality worked to improve sulfur dioxide levels by analyzing wind patterns on days with high SO2 measurements, indentifying large industrial sources near Wilmington, and working with key industries to reduce their SO2 emissions. For example, DAQ issued a revised air permit for Invista in July 2012 that requires the company to increase the height of its emissions stacks and use low-sulfur fuel in its boiler and other equipment. Another SO2 emissions source, Southern States Chemical, closed its plant near the monitor in December 2010 and gave up its air permit in November 2011.
In addition, Progress Energy is converting its coal-fired Sutton power plant, the largest source of SO2 emissions in the area, to natural gas near the end of this year. When completed, that change will largely eliminate Progress Energy’s SO2 emissions in New Hanover County.
“The improvement in sulfur dioxide levels has been a team effort involving numerous DAQ staff, local governments and businesses in the Wilmington area,” said Sheila Holman, director of the Division of Air Quality.
“We expect to see further improvements once Progress Energy converts its Sutton coal plant to cleaner-burning natural gas.”
More information about DAQ’s efforts to reduce SO2 emissions can be found at this page on division’s website: http://www.ncair.org/planning/so2 .