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Consent signed for Woolston factory, Gelita NZ Ltd

Consent signed for Woolston factory, Gelita NZ Ltd

Gelita NZ Ltd has received resource consent from the Environment Court for its new coal-fired boiler at its Woolston site. The consent is conditional on the fact that pollution levels from the coal boiler will be capped during four months of winter, May to August inclusive. It also includes a number of other pollution-reducing measures.

Gelita (previously Davis Gelatine) was last year refused consent by Environment Canterbury commissioners because the proposed new boiler operation had the potential to double existing pollution emissions into the atmosphere. These pollutants included sulphur dioxide and PM10 particles, which are minute, solid particles which lodge in the lungs. The application was then referred to the Environment Court with subsequent mediation between the company and Environment Canterbury. The consent and conditions were finally signed off by Judge Jeff Smith in the Environment Court on May 19.

The new operation proposed to replace two old and inefficient coal boilers with a higher capacity, more efficient coal-boiler. The commissioners said last year that the resulting increase in pollution would have been contrary to the purpose of the Resource Management Act. It would also have been contrary to the aims of the Christchurch Air Plan and the new National Environmental Standard for air quality. This gives all polluted towns and cities until 2013 to reduce pollution levels to a healthy level and currently aims to stop consents being granted that are likely to prevent that from happening.

“To avoid this situation occurring, the company has agreed to restrict emissions from the new boiler during the four months of winter when Christchurch pollution levels can be very high, caused mainly by home fires and burners,” said ECan director regulation Dr Mike Freeman. “This means the operation will not be making air quality worse in the city during those months.

“In addition, the old coal-fired boilers can only be used when the new boiler is undergoing maintenance checks and in any event, for no more than two weeks in any year.”

As well as upgrading their coal boilers, Gelita is also switching two oil-fuelled boilers to gas. This means that emissions of sulphur dioxide and pollution particles would be largely removed from those sources, Dr Freeman said, which was helpful for air quality in the city.

The business manufactures gelatine on the site and the boilers operate 24 hours a day year-round.


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