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Incinerator OKd to Exceed Pollution Limit

June 18, 1989|CHRIS WOODYARD | Times Staff Writer

LONG BEACH — This city's trash-to-energy incinerator has won a new variance that will allow short daily periods of excessive nitrogen oxide emissions.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District approved the variance Thursday after city officials said they are making repairs on the Southeast Resource Recovery Facility, a $105-million joint project between the city and County Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County. The facility burns trash to produce electricity.

Plant officials said they are installing new nozzles that will spray ammonia into the furnace to chemically destroy the nitrogen oxide. The chemical compound is an irritant and a common component of smog. It is produced from the burning of fossil fuels.

The officials said the plant is operating within permitted levels for all other regulated pollutants.

Bill Davis, city solid waste manager, said the incinerator would have been forced to operate at reduced capacity if the variance had been denied. The cutback would reduce the plant's ability to produce electricity, making it less economical to operate.

David E. Killough, an attorney representing the city, said the air quality district agreed to allow two 15-minute periods a day in which each of the plant's three boilers can exceed the normally permitted levels of nitrogen oxide emissions. The variance, good through Aug. 15, supersedes previous variances that allowed higher levels of emissions during the plant's testing phase.

The city is expected to decide in August whether to accept final delivery of the plant from the builder, Dravo Corp., or require that further repairs be made.

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