Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division is evaluating a request from DSM Chemicals North America for a modified air quality permit that would accommodate new equipment and increase airborne emissions.
As part of the process, regulators will hold a two-hour forum and public hearing at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Hornsby Elementary School, 310 Kentucky Ave., Augusta.
The plant’s primary product is caprolactam, the raw material used in the production of Nylon 6. The plant on Columbia Nitrogen Road near the Savannah River also has several other facilities within its borders.
According to a summary of the application prepared for DSM by Charlotte, N.C.-based ENVIRON International Corp., the proposed changes include “a large number of physical and operational modifications to the facility in order to improve its reliability and profitability.”
Collectively, the application said, those modifications could result in an increase in the capacity of the plant.
The application includes a table outlining the site’s estimated pre-project emissions and the anticipated emissions increases resulting from the proposed modifications.
According to those calculations, past emissions totaled about 1.34 million tons per year, while the anticipated increase would be an additional 205,567 tons per year.
Most of those emissions involve nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide, the application said.
Although some of the details of the improvements were redacted from the public copies of the application for proprietary reasons, EPD officials said equipment to be added will include a hot oil furnace to be fired exclusively with natural gas; an ammonia combustor; and a new confidential process line.
“The primary purpose of this permit amendment is to allow for plant modifications to improve the plant’s reliability which may increase the plant’s production capacity,” said Eric Cornwell, the stationary source permitting manager of EPD’s Air Protection Branch.
The agency is evaluating the request under the criteria outlined in the U.S. Clean Air Act, which require regulators to prevent “significant deterioration” of air quality.
“We will consider all air quality-related comments prior to making a decision whether to recommend the permit modification requested by DSM Chemicals,” he said.
EPD has made a copy of the application available for review at the Augusta-Richmond County Public Library, 823 Telfair St., along with a copy of the draft permit and PSD Preliminary Determination. EPD has placed electronic files of the application, draft Title V permit, and PSD Preliminary Determination on its Internet site: www.georgiaair.org/airpermit/html/permits/psd/main.html.