The Loudon County Air Quality Task Force is renewing its
mission to promote clean air and provide information about air pollution issues to local
governments. The task force met last week and elected Lewis "Charlie Brown" Garner, a former Loudon
City Council member, to serve as chairman.
Garner accepted the post after longtime chairman
Mike Crosby stepped down because of illness. Crosby, attending his first meeting in several months,
said he will continue serving on the board and will assist Garner if needed.
Kimberly-Clark engineer and task force representative, was elected vice chairman. Industrial
oversight concerning plant emissions is a function of the task force. An industrial representative
has traditionally held a top position as chairman or vice chairman, Crosby said. Longtime task
force representative Mike Slimbarski reported to the group he had received a voice mail message
concerning Viskase from Barry Stephens, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Air
Pollution Control Division director. Stephens reported that the board is continuing to work on that
with the company, looking at actual emissions in comparison to allowable emissions.
force member Bud Guider reported on his attendance at two Loudon City Council meetings this month,
where he expressed concerns that industrial prospects are not investigated for potential emissions
of air pollutants before they are approved to locate here. He said he plans to visit Loudon County
Commission next week.
"I went to the city of Loudon as an individual rather than a task force
representative to learn what they know of the potential impact of Ceramica Del Conca," Guider said.
"They knew nothing. Absolutely nothing. It had not been discussed. It had never come up. That was my
Guider said the industrial recruitment process should involve the task force from
"The approach we have now is a day late and a dollar short … the process should
be that when there's a potential industry they should invite us to be a part of the process," Guider
Don Miller and David Meers, county commissioners and task force members, suggested a
workshop discussion with government agencies asking for the LCAQTF to be a part of the economic
development recruitment process. Miller said he would be willing to talk to the commission as a
member of the Economic Development Agency board.
LCAQTF is an advisory board created by the
Loudon County Commission, and the cities of Loudon and Lenoir City.
Gerry Schleuter, Tate
& Lyle plant manager, reported to the task force that his company has asked for a permit
modification after finding SO2, or sulfur dioxide, in its scrubber that exceeded allowable
"The limit is 28 tons and we were running 34 tons. We asked to modify the permit,
and we gave up (allowed emissions). We put in a new scrubber that was more efficient that is running
10 tons a year," he said. "We were issued a notice of violation, and we are confident we will be
fined. We took care of it. We reported it, and we tested it. We have done everything we could. Now
we're emitting less VOCs (volatile organic compounds). We modified the scrubber to get the numbers
down. The test showed we were six tons over the limit."
Schleuter said the plant is running
at 75 percent capacity at present.
"The market is not good for sweetener, and the alcohol
market stinks," he said.