Ponderay Newsprint Company is being fined $24,000 for illegally operating diesel engines at its Usk facility since November 2015.
The Washington Department of Ecology fined the Pend Oreille County company for not obtaining the proper permits to operate the engines and for releasing uncontrolled diesel exhaust into the air.
Air permits are required for protecting human health and the environment. Diesel engine exhaust contains fine particles that can cause health problems for people who are exposed frequently and at high enough levels.
Ecology also fined Ponderay’s contractor, Plummer Forest Products of Post Falls, Idaho, $3,000 for not obtaining a permit.
Ponderay contracted with the Post Falls company in 2014 to provide the engines to temporarily power wood chipping and log debarking equipment.
The engines can be operated without a permit for up to 12 months. However, the companies continued to operate engines without a permit beyond the one-year timeframe.
After the initial 12 months, Ecology notified both companies that they needed an air quality permit to continue to operate the diesel engines.
Both companies may appeal the fines to the state’s Pollution Control Hearings Board within 30 days.