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It’s Not a Fire, It's Biomass

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June 12, 2013. Source: Hibbing Daily Tribune

HIBBING, Minnesota — The lighting of the biomass boiler by the Hibbing Public Utilities (HPU) Wednesday has resulted in smoke over the city.

The Hibbing Fire Department and 911 have received numerous calls of persons reporting smoke or fires in the area, according to Fire Chief Scott Nehiba.

“There is smoke wafting through the city, but it’s not from a fire,” he said. “Until it (the biomass boiler) is burning efficiently, there will be some smoke.” Nehiba said 911 and fire crews are aware of it, stressing there is no need to worry or call.

HPU lit off the wood boiler at 8 a.m. Wednesday, which resulted in a large amount of smoke coming from the stack, said HPU General Manager Gary Myers. HPU lights the boiler about three or four times a year, and it does generate smoke as workers slowly warm the wood and slowly increase the temperature until it comes online. This process takes four to six hours, Myers said.

There may be more smoke than normal coming from the boiler Wednesday morning due to wet wood. When the wood is wet, HPU needs to put more air on it to get it lit, Myers said. He added that the smoke will disappear once the wood is burning well, and area residents should notice less smoke by 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Nehiba said HFD has been in contact with HPU, adding that they have discussed HPU giving HFD notice of when they light boilers in the future. “That way we could give more notice out to the public,” he said.

Comments

Unfortunately for the citizens of Hibbing . . . even when the emissions from a biomass burning plant are odorless and colorless the biomass burner is dumping tons of toxic air emissions into your air and you are breathing it. There is no technology that stop the nano particle and fine particle now being inhaled in your lungs, penetrating lung tissue and blood vessel and causing deep inflammation leading to heart attack, diabetes mellitus, stroke, asthma, emphysema and cancer just to mention a few of the known increased risks.
The industry joke is to emphasis the smokeless and colorless manta . . . with them knowing the real truth . . . citizens are being damage daily . . . particularly the fetus, newborn, children, athletes who play outside and then of course, those with medical problems already. The citizens could begin by bring a lawsuit against this plant for damaging your environment, property values, your lungs, your children. You could join the bucket brigade and collect air sample, you could get your doctor to investigate the toxic emission and see if they think they are safe. I smoke is hanging over your site what is you pollution control agency doing with your taxes to protect you . . . or is this all about profit for a few at the expense of the average citizen?

William J. Blackley, MD Fellow American Academy of Family Practice

Thanks, Dr. Blackley for having the courage to stand up for the health of all Americans by calling out the air pollution from biomass incineration.