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Ferndale’s Intalco fined for air quality violations

Workers start aluminum smelter pots on potline B at the Alcoa Intalco aluminum smelter west of Ferndale Feb. 15, 2011.
Workers start aluminum smelter pots on potline B at the Alcoa Intalco aluminum smelter west of Ferndale Feb. 15, 2011. pdwyer@bhamherald.com

Intalco Works was dealt a $32,500 fine for air quality violations that took place last year.

The violations stem from two different situations that took place at the aluminum smelter near Ferndale. One stemmed from a curtailment process that was underway around June 2016 before Alcoa reached an agreement with Bonneville Power Administration that saved the facility from being closed. According to the Washington State Department of Ecology, the process of stopping the curtailment, combined with the loss of trained personnel, resulted in a number of emission violations in the potlines.

The smelter was also fined for emission violations following a fire in the bake oven in November. Ecology said in a news release the emissions from the potlines and bake oven “were not likely to have caused exposure levels that would result in adverse health effects or impacts to the environment.”

“Intalco worked in good faith to minimize and correct the problems,” said James DeMay, manager of Ecology’s Industrial Section, in the news release. “We recognize Intalco has faced some challenges, but the company still needs to meet its air quality permit requirements.”

In a written statement, Alcoa said it proactively reported the violations to Ecology and is working to address the violations.

“Intalco will continue to work with (Ecology), including refining and enhancing training programs that will further improve our environmental performance,” said the statement, which came from Jim Beck, director of communications for Alcoa.

Alcoa has 30 days to appeal the penalty to the state’s Pollution Control Hearings Board.

Dave Gallagher: 360-715-2269, @BhamHeraldBiz

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