Terry McNeice (left) begins the appellants’ cross-examination of Metro Vancouver’s first witness, Dr. Katherine Preston. (File photo)

Terry McNeice (left) begins the appellants’ cross-examination of Metro Vancouver’s first witness, Dr. Katherine Preston. (File photo)

South Surrey air-quality appeal delayed – again – by second appeal

Metro Vancouver in July amended the permit issued for Ebco’s galvanizing plant

A hearing contesting an air-quality permit issued to a South Surrey galvanizing plant has been adjourned again, following a decision to join it with a second appeal – related to an amended permit that was issued in July.

The move has frustrated residents who have been fighting to quash a 2018 approval that Metro Vancouver gave to Ebco Metal Finishing Ltd. to discharge air contaminants from its 18699 25 Ave. plant.

“It’s basically starting all over again,” Frank Mueggenburg said last month, following the adjournment.

“We spent two-and-a-half years arguing the permit… and then on July 3, they surprise us with an amendment to the permit that overrides what we’re arguing about. It completely changes everything.”

The Ebco plant has raised concerns for area residents since they learned in 2015 that it was going to be more than just a warehouse, as initial City of Surrey notices had advised.

Concerns ramped up in 2018, after Metro Vancouver issued an air-quality permit that authorized the annual discharge of 3.7 tonnes of contaminants – incuding zinc, nickel and particulates – from the hot-dip facility, through February 2033.

In proceedings before the Environmental Appeal Board that got underway in the spring of 2019, appellants have detailed fears of long-term impacts of the emissions on human, animal and crop health, as well as to contaminants’ potential effects on the Brookswood aquifer, while Metro Vancouver officials have described the plant as a “relatively small emitter” compared to others in the region that are also authorized to discharge contaminants.

READ MORE: Neighbour of South Surrey galvanizing plant worries emissions ‘are killing us’

The hearing was delayed this year due to the pandemic, but got rolling again in early August in Richmond. Due to the second appeal, however, evidence that could be discussed was limited to the roof-vents emission source for which permissions were unchanged in the amended permit.

READ MORE: Brookswood residents petition for zero emissions at South Surrey industrial park

Kathy Preston, who is Metro Vancouver’s lead senior engineer, told PAN it includes “a lot of small changes and some major ones,” the biggest change being the additional baghouse.

“The main reason that Ebco applied for an amendment was so that they could use a third baghouse on this galvanizing kettle enclosure. It was not in the original permit,” Preston explained.

READ MORE: South Surrey galvanizing plant a ‘relatively small emitter’ in Metro Vancouver: witness

“It’s quite a bit bigger than the other two baghouses,” she added, “… so there’s a lot more air going through and being treated. A really simple way of thinking about it is like adding another vacuum cleaner.”

Ebco and Metro Vancouver representatives told the EAB panel in early September that they supported joining the appeals, describing the move as efficient and logical.

Mueggenburg told Peace Arch News that all of the appellants opposed the joinder.

The amended permit, among other things, authorized an additional baghouse at the plant, increased the overall authorized emissions and reduced the annual maximum allowed hours of operation of the two original baghouses.

Mueggenburg acknowledged that the extra baghouse addresses some of the appellants’ concerns – “they’ve got a lot more suck in that kettle than they’ve ever had before,” he said – “but in saying that, it’s what they should’ve done in the first damn place,” he said.

Appellants are also concerned that the overall authorized emissions were increased without consulting the public, he said, and that the list of contaminants now includes “new chemicals that have no place in this galvanizing facility.”

An attempt at mediation, he noted, was unsuccessful.

Mueggenburg said despite having to proceed with the appeals joined, appellants remain determined.

“I’ve talked with a couple of experts this far and they said, don’t give up,” he said.

Continuation dates are expected to be set at the end of November.



tholmes@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

EnvironmentSurrey

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Ebco Metal Finishing Ltd. founder Hugo Eppich stands by the hot-dip kettle at his South Surrey galvanizing plant during an April 2016 tour of the facility. (File photo)

Ebco Metal Finishing Ltd. founder Hugo Eppich stands by the hot-dip kettle at his South Surrey galvanizing plant during an April 2016 tour of the facility. (File photo)

Just Posted

Residents of 15156 Victoria Ave. say they’re at risk of losing their affordable housing, from left, Elizabeth Soper, Jack, Jane, Dan, Anthony. (Aaron Hinks photo)
White Rock tenants, landlord to go to RTB hearing over ‘renoviction’

Low-income tenants dispute claim they must relocate for work to be completed

A woman crosses 176th Street in Cloverdale April 12, 2021. 176th will not host Cloverdale Market Days this year as the popular street fest is just the latest casualty in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
Cloverdale Market Days cancelled again

Organizer says popular street fest will return in 2022

Researchers say residents should leave sleeping bats alone while they exit hibernation. (Cathy Koot photo)
Spring ‘signal’ brings White Rock, Surrey bats out of hibernation

Community Bat Programs of BC says it’s best to leave sleeping bats alone

Marchers supporting Indian farmers rallied in Surrey last month, from Bear Creek Park to Holland Park along King George Boulevard. (File photo: Tom Zillich)
Surrey MP says mayor’s motion to support Indian farmers is his to make

“He has his own sovereignty, right,” Sukh Dhaliwal says

Crescent Beach Marina was ordered closed on April 12 due to COVID-19, according to Fraser Health. (Contributed photo)
Two South Surrey businesses among several shuttered for at least 10 days due to COVID-19

Fraser Health posting list of workplaces closed under new public health order

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Top doctor warns B.C.’s daily cases could reach 3,000 as COVID hospitalizations surge

There are more than 400 people in hospital, with 125 of them in ICU

The father of Aaliyah Rosa planted a tree and laid a plaque in her memory in 2018. (Langley Advance Times files)
Final witness will extend Langley child murder trial into May or June

Lengthy trial began last autumn with COVID and other factors forcing it to take longer than expected

The corner of 96th Avenue and Glover Road in Fort Langley now has traffic signals, and new “touchless” signal activation buttons. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Busy Fort Langley intersection gets ‘touchless’ crosswalk signals

The new traffic light started operation in April

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A crossing guard stops traffic as students wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 arrive at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. A number of schools in the Fraser Health region, including Woodward Hill, have reported cases of the B.1.7.7 COVID-19 variant first detected in the U.K. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-infected students in Lower Mainland schools transmitting to 1 to 2 others: data

Eight to 13 per cent of COVID cases among students in the Lower Mainland were acquired in schools, B.C. says

Dr. Bonnie Henry – in a B.C. health order that went into effect April 12 – granted WorkSafe inspectors the power to enforce workplace closures with COVID-19 spread. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
24 workplace closures being enforced in Fraser Health under new COVID-19 order

WorkSafe inspectors the power to enforce closures if COVID-19 has spread to 3 or more employees

Maple Ridge Fire and Rescue were conducting training operations at Gold Creek Falls when a firefighter broke their leg. (Eileen Robinson photo - Special to The News)
Firefighter suffers broken leg during swift water rescue practice in Golden Ears park

A training exercise at Maple Ridge waterfall on Wedesday results in mishap

Norm Scott, president of Royal Canadian Legion Branch # 91, is disappointed the Legion does not qualify for COVID financial assistance from the provincial government. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C.’s pandemic aid package passing Legion branches by

Federal non-profit status stymies provincial assistance eligibility

Most Read