Department of Ecology News Release - June 16, 2011

11-166

Ecology seeks comment on Dell Data Center in Quincy

SPOKANE — The Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology) invites the public to comment on a proposed “notice of construction” order (permit) for the “Dell Marketing, LP” (Dell) Data Center proposed to be located in Quincy to store data and run software applications.

The Dell Data Center would be located directly north of the Microsoft Columbia Data Center and would be phased in over several years depending on customer demand.

To build a data center, Dell needed first to apply to Ecology for the “notice of construction” permit, which is written to protect air quality. The permit is needed because data centers use large, diesel-powered backup generators to supply electricity to the servers during power failures.

The primary air contaminant sources at the facility would be 28 electric generators powered by diesel engines. The generators would have a power capacity of up to 84 megawatts, once the facility is fully built. They would provide emergency backup power to the facility in case Grant County PUD electrical power service is ever disrupted.

As part of the permit review process, Ecology carefully evaluates whether the diesel exhaust from a data center’s backup generators could cause health problems.

Diesel engine exhaust carries toxic air pollutants. Because of this, Ecology requires a thorough evaluation of the potential health risks posed by the project. This evaluation was conducted under what’s called a “second-tier review of the health impact assessment.” The second tier review is required when emissions of pollutants are expected to reach a certain threshold.

A summary of the potential health effects caused by diesel engine exhaust is available online (http://www.ecy.wa.gov/pubs/1102005.pdf).

Before the permit is final, public comment will be taken into consideration. The public may comment in writing to Ecology until midnight on July 18, 2011. In addition, a public hearing is scheduled to be held at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 13 in the upstairs meeting room at Quincy City Hall, 104 B St. SW. Pre-hearing presentations and discussion will begin at 5:15 p.m. The hearing will continue until everyone who wants to testify has had the opportunity to do so.

Copies of the draft permit and the health assessment are available for review at the offices of the City of Quincy, 104 B St. SW, Quincy and at the Department of Ecology, Eastern Regional Office, 4601 N. Monroe St., Spokane, WA. For more information or to view the documents online (http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/air/quincydatacenter).

Ecology will review and respond to all comments. The draft permit could be amended based on the comments Ecology receives.

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Media Contact: Jani Gilbert, Communications, 509-329-3645; jagi461@ecy.wa.gov 

For more information on the Quincy Data Center (http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/air/quincydatacenter)