Low-burning temperatures caused fumes during Lafarge start up: DoE report

Harry Sullivan
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SHORTTS LAKE - Low-burning temperatures during a kiln startup at the Lafarge cement plant was the cause of heavy fumes and smoke that recently caused residents to take refuge indoors, the Department of Environment (DoE) says.

Lafarge cement plant in Brookfield.

"They were burning used oil and it wasn't being burned at the temperature that would cause it to be burned efficiently and not cause problems," said department spokeswoman Lori Errington.

"If you are not burning at an optimal temperature you are going to get more smoke," she said, using the burning of wet firewood as an example.

"And so they were burning used oil and it wasn't at an optimal temperature."

At the time of the incident in early August, nearby resident Stanley Campbell said the "brutal" fumes that had "gagged everybody out" lasted for more than five hours.

Lafarge was directed by the DoE to file a report stating both the cause of the fumes and what the company plans to do to prevent a reoccurrence.

"Basically they will revise their kiln startup operating procedure," Errington said, adding that the DoE inspector involved is satisfied "that this is a one-off and it won't happen again.

"So we won't be taking any compliance action," she said, and the file now is closed.

Plant manager Scarth MacDonnell said efforts will be made to prevent a re-occurrence after future shutdowns, which occur about three times per year.

"We had an unfortunate incident that from our perspective was unacceptable," he said.

"To learn from this and to make sure it doesn't happen again we are making changes to our start-up procedures and we're going to delay the onset of any oil to the kiln until we know that the kiln's at an acceptable temperature to ensure sufficient combustion."

The plant will also be initiating a call registry, he said, so that all area residents interested in knowing when a start up is going to occur, can be informed in advance.


Twitter: @tdnharry


Organizations: DoE

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Recent comments

  • Enviro Patrol
    August 19, 2014 - 17:34

    ...well this begs a question or two...why feed the waste oil if the temperature was not yet hot enough? ( they should know what temperature it takes to burn used oil versus regular fuel)...sometime the used oil is contaminated with Antifreeze or contains too much synthetic oil which will impact combustion so was that checked out?....PLUS: there were plans to test burning waste Plastics, in a "pilot proposal" that requires a special permit approved by NS Environment,... was that part of the fuel mix problem and if not when is that pilot project going to happen?.....PLUS did Lafarge not do another "pilot proposal" via permit from Ns Environment to dispose of Fracking Waste Water just before this incident?...Lafarge said they would test the emissions during the process, how did that go??... and they said they would test the equipment for residues...did residue buildup or impact the plant in anyway??...Curious since now AIS wants to dispose of Fracking waste water by dumping into the Dieppe sewer, why is Lafarge no longer involved...oh what a tangled we we weave clinging to fossil fuels....Lafarge uses mulitple fuel sources including shingles, now plastic used oil, fish oil and the list goes on....this is not suitable for a "combustion Kiln"...we do have technology that can do this and more, but it is not combustion, emissions would be almost undetectable or none at all depending on the system design, since the waste fuel would be "melted to plasma gas" at 5000 degrees., ...NS needs such technology and Lafarge may be a great partner...and the extreme byproduct heat can still be used to melt the limestone aggregate mix typically at 1400 degrees ....this would stop combustion of fossil fuels (tar in shingles and hydrocarbon plastics included) that creates emissions at the plant...clean technology is commercially available and we need to demand government protects our health and requires industry to progress to a non polluting process....that includes emissions and effluents at places like Northern Pulp...strategic planning can move us forward rather than keep on investing in the same old technologies that pollute....Why does NS Environment not have someone following what our Canadian Clean tech sector is already selling to the rest of the world?