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Rayonier Industrial Wastewater Permit Renewal Public Meeting

Event Date: 
Thursday, October 06, 2022 - 5:00pm to 7:00pm EDT
Northeast District
Program Area: 
Northeast District Permitting
Public Notice
Public Notice: 
76346 William Burgess Boulevard
Yulee, FL 32097

• Industrial Wastewater Facility Permit Number FL000701-011 was issued by the Department, to Rayonier Performance Fibers, LLC, Fernandina Beach, January 26, 2017, and expired January 25, 2022. Based on the most recent renewal permit application, the Sludge Management site generates a maximum of 1000 cubic yards per day of sludge from the primary clarifier (primary sludge) and a maximum of 1000 cubic yards per day of sludge from the treatment lagoon (secondary sludge). As of August 17, 2022, the Department's Northeast District Permitting staff has concluded its review for the renewal of this permit. • Rayonier Performance Fibers LLC- Fernandina Plant is located in Nassau County in the city of Fernandina Beach, Florida. The Fernandina Plant opened in 1939 in downtown Fernandina. The plant produced pulp and paper during the Great Depression and rayon tire cord during World War II. Today, the plant manufactures a highly refined performance fiber that can be found in LCD screens, pharmaceuticals, automotive filters and countless essential products. • Unlike mills that convert wood to fiber suitable for paper or "specialty" pulps, the Fernandina Mill process virtually eliminates lignin. The Fernandina Mill is one of only four dissolving pulp mills still operating in the U.S. and the only one utilizing a sulfite pulping process to produce a product mix uniquely tailored to meet specific customer needs. • The Yulee Sludge Management Facility receives and disposes of waste sludge and other solid wastes from the Fernandina Plant. Industrial Wastewater Facility Permit Number FL000701-011 incorporates the Fernandina Dissolving Sulfite Pulp Mill in Fernandina Beach and the associated Sludge Management Facility in Yulee. • The Northeast District has received numerous citizen complaints related to the odor emissions from the Yulee Sludge Management Facility. The Northeast District compliance section received complaints and/or had discussion with residents regarding odor starting in November 2021. While processing the Draft permit, the Department received around 100 phone calls, letters or emails regarding the odor or the renewal permit. The majority of emails were received January through April of 2022. • Comments from the public included concerns for the following areas: 1. creation of foul smells and objectionable odors 2. health impacts from airborne toxins or hydrogen sulfide 3. loss of property values 4. requests to hold a public meeting. • Many of the concerns related to odors have been received from property owners in the North Hampton subdivision, which is in close proximity of the Sludge Management site. Northeast staff have conducted site inspections and confirmed the objectionable odors. • Based on the numerous complaints received, a public meeting will be held upon the issuance of the "Draft" permit. Prior to the public meeting, the "Draft" permit will be published in a media outlet with local circulation. • Northeast District staff has been working with Rayonier staff to alleviate the odors. On January 13, 2022 the Department approved a Lime Addition Procedure Pilot Study at the Yulee Sludge Management facility. The pilot study project is to investigate the use of lime addition to neutralize the odor from the decomposing material at the sludge site by raising the pH of the material. The study includes requirements for ground water monitoring and will end on January 31, 2023. If the addition of lime proves successful in reducing odor, the facility shall work with the Department and shall apply to have the procedure incorporated into the operating plan. In addition, the Department has conducted four site visits to the sludge management facility with latest on August 31, 2022.

Contact Name: 
Craver, Kathryn
Contact Phone: 
Last Modified:
September 7, 2022 - 10:13am

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