Data centers house servers that store digital data, handle email, manage instant messages and run applications for computers. Microsoft uses backup generators powered by diesel engines to keep servers functioning in case of power outages. In addition to the new generators, the updated permit includes 136 evaporative cooling towers.
The diesel engines and cooling towers release fine particles into the air. Exhaust from the engines release other pollution like carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide, and volatile organic compounds. Air pollution can cause health problems for people who are exposed frequently and at high enough levels.
The expansion puts the facility into a new air permitting category and the company will be also required to submit an Air Operating Permit application within one year after receiving approval to install the new equipment.
Ecology required Microsoft to complete a health impact assessment to evaluate the potential health risks from the increased emissions. The assessment found that the data center will meet criteria intended to protect people and the environment if operated according to the permit.
A public hearing on the air quality permit application will be held at 5 p.m. Aug. 27, 2018, 115 F St. S.W., Quincy, WA 98848.
Comments will be accepted Jul. 26 through Aug. 31, 2018. Visit Ecology’s webpage to submit comments online and to review permit documents. Comments may also be emailed or mailed to Jenny Filipy, Department of Ecology, Air Quality Program, 4601 N. Monroe, Spokane, WA 99205.
Review the revised permit
- Ecology’s website
- Quincy City Hall, 115 1st Ave. S.W., Quincy.
- Quincy Library, 208 Central Ave. S., Quincy.