Landau Associates gets Gold for pulp mill environmental engineering

Edmonds, WA-based Landau Associates received an Engineering Excellence Best in State Gold Award “for future value to the engineering profession and perception by the public” from the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) — Washington for the new Columbia Pulp mill in Columbia County, WA. The mill uses a new, lowchemical pulping process to turn waste wheat straw from local farms into treefree paper and packaging products. The mill will use less than one-third of the energy used to make traditional pulp from wood fiber. The new process also reduces area greenhouse gas emissions by eliminating the need for farmers to burn their straw waste. The 449-acre Columbia Pulp mill site is on the south bank of the Snake River along State Route 261, about two miles upstream of Lyons Ferry, WA, in the heart of one of the densest wheat farming regions in North America.

Construction of the full-scale, fourbuilding, 140,000-sq-ft plant is to be complete in early 2019, bringing about 125 jobs to the community and producing up to 400 tons of pulp a day.

As the consultant team lead for environmental engineering and permitting (including waste-water, storm-water, air quality and water rights acquisition), Landau worked with Columbia Pulp’s design team to obtain permits and approvals for the construction and operation of the mill. Other design team members included Phoenix Pulp & Polymer, Allnorth Americas LLC, SCJ Alliance and Pacific Civil & Infrastructure.

Landau introduced a process engineering design change that effectively eliminated the discharge of 600,000 gal/day of wastewater, resulting in a zero-effluent facility under normal operating conditions. The change uses a multiple-effect evaporation process that allows the plant to be a zero-liquid-discharge facility with no pollutant loading to local surface water bodies.

The design change also allows reduced use of fresh water and avoided the need for National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System wastewater discharge permitting.

Securing environmental permits for a manufacturing facility with no industrial- scale precedent required close collaboration with regulatory agencies to prove that the new mill would produce far fewer emissions than wood-based pulp mills.

Landau and Columbia Pulp also evaluated estimated emissions from the facility and documented potential air quality effects on the surrounding community. The evaluation, approved by the Washington State Dept. of Ecology, showed that Columbia Pulp’s new manufacturing process has the potential to emit 99% fewer air pollutants than traditional pulp and paper facilities. The facility was designed to meet Ecology’s Best Available Control Technology requirements.

Landau Associates, www.landauinc.com

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