By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – In response to several comments and questions from residents, Deputy Mayor Gordon Boddez raised the question of Champion Petfoods progress in its odour emission problem Tuesday night. At the end of the Aug. 9 meeting of Morinville Town Council, the Deputy Mayor said his recollection of the Champion situation was the company’s new scrubber system was to be installed by August.
“It’s certainly not going to go away,” Boddez said of the public’s desire to see the odour problem resolved. “I’m bringing it forward again. We really need to talk about this.” The Deputy Mayor said he felt it was important to let the people of Morinville know what the status of Champion’s progress was.
Interim CAO Debbie Oyarzun said administration had received Champion’s latest progress update earlier that day, but there had not been time to assess the document in time for Tuesday night’s meeting. However, the matter is on Council’s next agenda. Champion will present to Council at their Sept. 13 meeting. Between now and then they are planning a tour for councillors so they may see what has been done thus far.
Long process thus far
Champion activated a $500,000 plasma-injector system in both its plants in June of 2010. Although the equipment worked well for the first few weeks, system performance continued to be a problem through the summer of 2010, requiring repeated tweaking and resetting. The situation worsened last October, prompting Champion to bring in the specialist who designed and installed the system. Although new reactors were installed and a number of air leaks were fixed in the plant’s stacks, the real problem was the presence of oil vapours passing through the dust filters and entering the plasma reactors.
The fat-based vapour molecules, a by-product of the company’s fresh meat ingredients, were getting trapped in the plasma injectors and blocking proper airflow. The company will be installing Venturi scrubbers that will separate the oil molecule from the water molecule prior to the plasma-injector system.
Champion President Frank Burdzy told councillors this April the company was on track with the outline they presented to council in January to install the scrubbers. Pilot testing concluded removing the fat molecules with the extra Venturi scrubber would alleviate the problem. The system would involve taking the existing airflow and running it through the scrubber, then through the plasma-injector system, and finally out the vent stacks. Additionally, the company is looking to enhance its airflow throughout the plant, ensuring positive and negative air pressure is where it should be.