Kennecott is prepared to keep sulfur dioxide emissions within the daily maximum average set by a state plan to control fine particulate pollution, a company official said Monday.

The company wanted a special exception in the state's plan for controlling fine particulates, known as PM10, governing operations during startups, shutdowns or breakdowns. Under the exception, excessive emissions occurring under such conditions would not be considered violations.But Rod Davey, vice president and general manager of Kennecott's Utah Copper operation, told the Air Conservation Committee Monday afternoon the company could live without the exception and still keep sulfur dioxide emissions below the plan's maximum daily average of 5,700 pounds per hour.

In order to achieve that, the plant will be in a startup/shutdown mode no more than 5 percent of the time.

However, Davey asked that the exception be allowed during the first four hours of cold starts, which follow periods when equipment is shutdown for longer maintenance periods. That occurs only several times each year.

Sulfur dioxide combines with other pollutants in the atmosphere to create PM10, tiny particles less than 10 microns in diameter which are capable of lodging deep in lung tissue and causing damage. Salt Lake, Davis and Utah counties are non-attainment areas for PM10.

Davey said Kennecott will be required to reduce its smelting time in order to hold sulfur dioxide emissions within the daily average maximum. Kennecott plans to install a $150 million "double contact acid plant" in order to cut its sulfur dioxide emissions.

The plant, to be completed by 1994, sends stack gases through acid twice to remove sulfur compounds.

Kennecott also plans to spend an additional $16 million upgrading its gas collection hoods and ventilation systems.

Kennecott's willingness to live without the exception is good news in light of comments during the hearing by an Environmental Protection Agency official from the Air Programs Branch in Denver.

Division Chief Marius Gedgaudas objected to the "special start/-up/shutdown/breakdown provision for Kennecott" in the control plan, a regulation not afforded other sources in Utah.

The state's control plan has slim hopes of passing federal muster unless the exception is removed, Gedgaudas said. The state will also have to set unconditional opacity standards for emissions from the smelter, he said.

And it will have to reword its wood burning stoves and fireplaces regulation to say "no visible emissions" will be acceptable from residences not relying solely on such heat sources during no burn periods.

Those stipulations aside, it appears the state implementation plan for controlling PM10 will work, Gedgaudas said.

The state plans to submit a final version of the document to EPA at the end of April.

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Public hearings

The Air Conservation Committee will hold two additional hearings on the state's pollution plan. They will meet tonight at Woods Cross High School at 7 p.m, and Wednesday in the Provo City Council chambers at 1:30 p.m.