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City agrees to fine over mercury emissions

Tue., Jan. 4, 2011, 3:43 p.m.

The Spokane Regional Solid Waste System has agreed to pay a $5,000 fine for violating mercury pollution standards.

The fine results from annual testing in June during which the Waste-to-Energy Plant on the West Plains exceeded mercury limits.

April Westby, an environmental engineer for the Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency, said the city of Spokane, which runs the system, agreed to the settlement on Dec. 28.

Besides the fine, the city has agreed to always run a pollution control system that uses carbon. The system was turned off during the tests in attempt to prove that the plant could attain standards without it. Officials say they always run pollution controls, but wanted to maintain the option of keeping it off in case the system broke. The city also agreed to install controls to help ensure that the carbon system is operating correctly.

The fine is the city’s second air pollution violation in less than a year. In May, Spokane paid $600 for violating its air pollution permit at the Northside Landfill by filing its annual emissions inventory report two weeks late.


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