Wisconsin biomass power plant to pay emissions fine

A Wisconsin biomass power plant must pay $150,000 in forfeitures, fees and costs for violations of its Wisconsin air pollution control permit at its Cassville biomass power plant.

Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen reported in a press release June 4 that his office obtained a judgment against DTE Energy Services, of Ann Arbor, Mich.

According to the complaint, the DTE Energy E. J. Stoneman power plant submitted monitoring reports to the state Department of Natural Resources indicating that from Nov. 13, 2010, to June 30, 2012, Stoneman exceeded its visible emission limitations on multiple days in violation of its permit.

Stoneman failed to control particulate matter emissions and failed to report to the DNR malfunctions and unscheduled events that may have caused emission limitations to be exceeded from June 17, 2010, to Dec. 17, 2010, in violation of its permit, according to the complaint.

Additionally, DTE failed to construct its biomass power plant in accordance with its permit application, as approved by DNR, and it failed to operate a particulate matter pollution control device during plant start-ups between Aug. 30, 2010, and Jan. 5, 2011, in violation of its permit. On multiple occasions between June 17, 2010, and April 4, 2011, fires occurred at DTE Stoneman’s biomass storage piles in violation of the state’s open burning laws.

DTE has cooperated with the DNR to ensure future compliance with its permit. In response to the violations specified in the complaint, DTE has made operational changes and mechanical enhancements to improve its fugitive dust control program and has upgraded its particulate matter emission controls.

In May 2008, DTE Energy Services announced it was purchasing the power plant, built in 1950. DTE said it planned to convert the coal-fired plant to burn wood waste, a renewable fuel.

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