A Conversion from Propane to Waste Fuels

Ponderay Newsprint Company combustor and boilers, as seen from west, June 8, 2001 [Ponderay Newsprint photograph]

Ponderay Newsprint Company (PNC) is located at Usk, Pend Oreille County, Washington. The production facilities include a chip unloading and handling facility, a 610 T/D thermo-mechanical pulp mill, a 120 T/D waste paper recycling facility, and one paper machine producing approximately 700 T/D of standard newsprint. Steam is used throughout its newsprint production. In 2001, PNC is finishing its conversion from propane to organic waste fuel which is used to fire their boiler.

According to a 1999 EPA Risk Management Plan (10623 Washington), PNC had identified two substances that are regulated under the Risk Management Planning Standard (40 CFR 68 section 112(r)).

  • Sulfur Dioxide, used as a brightening agent in the pulping process.
  • Propane, used to fire their steam boiler (rated at 180,000 lbs./hour).

Both sulfur dioxide and propane are potentially hazardous when released into the atmosphere, especially in large quantities. PNC is located in a river valley where heavier than air releases would have a tendency to remain at or near ground level.

PNC’s new combustor eliminates the need for propane since its uses organic paper and wood product waste as fuel. Formerly, the waste was spread on open fields. While there was apparently no environment hazard occurring with this method of disposal (the waste being organic), it did present a disposal cost to PNC. By utilizing the waste as fuel, both the cost of disposal and the cost of the propane are eliminated along with elimination of the potential hazard a propane release might cause.

PNC’s conversion from propane to clean waste as a fuel source demonstrates their commitment to good business practices and a healthy environment.


Site Coordinator: Lori Niemuth Last updated: July 24, 2007