Tom Mesi appealed a decision of the Regional Waste Manager to issue an amended permit to Little Valley Forest Products (1993) Ltd. (“LVFP”). LVFP operates a sawmill in Hagensborg, and the amended permit authorizes air emissions from a beehive burner used to incinerate wood waste. The amended permit specifies that, among other things, emissions may occur 24 hours per day and seven days per week, smoke opacity is not to exceed 20% (with a variance to 40% for fuel feed shutdowns), and dustfall is to be monitored. Mr. Mesi, who owns property adjacent to the sawmill, claimed that the emissions were injurious to his health, and that the dustfall was creating a nuisance, interfering with his ability to sell his herb crop, and adversely affecting the aquatic life in a millpond located on LVFP’s property.
The Board found that there was insufficient evidence to establish that the dustfall and oil residue from the sawmill operation was either adversely affecting the aquatic life in the millpond, or creating a health hazard. The Board also found that, although the amended permit specified a reduction in the previously permitted smoke opacity levels, there was an unanticipated increase in the amount of dustfall. The Board determined that the increased dustfall was adversely affecting Mr. Mesi’s ability to earn an income from his farm. As such, the Board upheld the amended permit, but ordered that conditions be added to reduce the amount of dustfall (through modifications to the burning process), and to provide for improved dustfall monitoring. The appeal was allowed, in part.