Sorry for the delayed response to your request. Thank you for your email and invitation to the neighborhood meeting at Chapman Elementary. DEQ is committed to addressing your concerns and hope that with your help on both the ESCO permit renewal and Portland Air Toxics Solutions advisory committee, that we are able to identify and implement agreeable solutions to the problem.
1. You suggested that we explore and mutually agree on permanent testing and monitoring of ESCO and all other sources of industrial emissions. While there are resource limitations, we are willing to explore the possibility of ambient monitoring for air toxics in Northwest Portland. DEQ will also be analyzing the monitoring requirements in ESCO’s permit during the renewal of the permit (See Item #5) to determine whether the amount and type of monitoring required is appropriate.
2. You asked for a review of the Cooper Environmental Services fence-line monitoring data. We are committed to sharing the report and our review with the public. DEQ is currently reviewing the Cooper report. Our goal is to have the review completed by the end of June, however staffing limitations may require more time.
3. You asked for a DEQ response regarding the feasibility of the requests made in the petition. We are entering contact information from the petition signers into a spreadsheet to compile an interested persons mailing list. When a formal response to the petition is developed, all persons on this mailing list will be notified. The response to specific requests will take some time to develop and will be folded into the renewal process of the ESCO permit (See Item #5). We are discussing the details of the petition amongst a variety of technical staff and policy analysts within DEQ. Much more information needs to be compiled before DEQ can state its position with respect to specific requests. Be assured that DEQ is committed to exploring all of the requests in the petition.
In the meantime, to improve communication with the neighborhood, DEQ is developing a new website that will be a clearinghouse of information regarding air quality in Northwest Portland. This web page will include ESCO-related public documents, progress on the ESCO permit renewal process, the Cooper report and review, a schedule of public meetings, monitoring and computer modeling information specific to NW Portland, progress of the Portland Air Toxics Solutions project, and any other information that is pertinent. Our goal is to have this website live by the middle of July, and it will continue to be updated as more information becomes available.
DEQ plans to schedule public meetings on specific topics. We have received survey responses (the green sheets handed out at the meeting) that show broad interest in the following topics: Air Pollution 101, Air Permitting 101, Air Toxics 101, compliance and inspections, and odors and nuisance. We do not have a fixed schedule for these activities yet, but are looking forward to working with you on dates and locations for these meetings.
4. You asked for a timeline for the drafting of the ESCO permit and public hearings. The timeline for permit drafting is not set in stone; DEQ’s process for drafting a Title V permit can take several months. Drafting the renewal for ESCO, or any other facility, consists of a detailed technical review and assessment. Some preliminary work has already begun to organize some of the broader issues within the permit, but the actual work of renewing the permit has not yet begun. We will start this process in July, at which time the permit writer may develop a better estimate of how long his review will take and an anticipated timeline for a draft permit. We will keep you apprised of our progress during this lengthy process.
5. You noted that neighbors expected to participate in drafting the permit. While we plan to hold neighborhood meetings throughout this process to inform neighbors and get your feedback, DEQ alone is responsible for drafting the permit. We will consider all issues raised in public meetings and invite public comment on the permit once drafted. We will modify the draft permit, as appropriate, based on the comments received during the formal public comment period.
Again, I thank you for your concerns regarding these issues. I agree that the next step should be to set up a meeting with you and key DEQ staff. Can you propose a few dates for the first half of July that we can use as a starting point?
NWR AQ Manager
Hope everyone’s summer is off to a good start.