Featuring Interns: Kaia Williams at the ME Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)

The Emissions Inventory Section of the Bureau of Air Quality at Maine DEP has had an intern with the Maine Government Summer Internship Program this summer. Kaia Williams is a student at Dalhousie University, where she has a dual major in Environment, Sustainability and Society, and Spanish and Latin American Studies. Kaia’s primary responsibility has been to conduct education and outreach to wood stove retailers about federal wood heater regulations that went into effect in May of this year. She has also assisted with the digitization of stack test documentation, and has accompanied Air Bureau staff in the field to learn first-hand about ambient air monitoring operations as well as stack testing.

Kaia was able to join CMRO staff on visits of four ambient air monitoring sites during her internship: Rumford, Lewiston, Gardiner, and Durham. She observed the operation of instruments used to measure concentrations of pollutants at these stations and learned about the auditing procedures.

After participating in the Stack Testing 101 training course, Kaia was able to attend two stack tests during her internship. First she attended the vapor combustion unit (VCU) testing at the Irving Oil terminal in Searsport with the Bureau of Air Quality’s Emissions Testing Coordinator (ETC). The terminal has a control system to capture gasoline vapors during the truck loading process and send them to the VCU, rather than venting to ambient air. Testing determines if the VCU meets the air emission limits for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) entering the atmosphere. Next, Kaia accompanied the ETC at Penobscot Energy Recovery Company (PERC) where they were testing two boilers for particulate matter, metals, and hydrochloric acid (HCl) emissions. PERC receives waste to be combusted in their boilers, which it then processes into refuse derived fuel. The resultant heat created is transferred to water in order to create steam, which then is sent to a steam turbine, and is used to generate electricity that is sent to the grid. In addition to creating energy, this process also has the benefit of reducing the volume of material that makes its way to a landfill. PERC has both a baghouse (to control particulate matter, including some metals) and a spray dryer absorber (SDA) (to control acid gases, such as HCl and SO2, as well as some particulate and metals) to reduce emissions that are the products of combustion.

We wish Kaia well as she continues her studies at Dalhousie this fall.