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Posted on Mar 11, 2016

Ecology seeks comments on changes to Yahoo’s air quality permit

Staff report
With Yahoo’s announcement last fall that it will expand its operations at its data center in Quincy, the company’s air quality permit now needs to be updated.
The Department of Ecology on March 31 is hosting a public hearing on the air quality permit. The hearing begins at 5 p.m. at the Quincy Valley Business & Conference Center, 115 F St. S.W. Formal testimony starts at 6:30 p.m.
Written comments and questions on the draft permit also are being taken through April 4.
Yahoo announced in October that it would be expanding its Quincy data center, doubling the size of its current operation. The expansion will add about 300,000 square feet to Yahoo’s operation and will be on 20 acres to the east of Yahoo’s current data center, Yahoo officials said in October.
Yahoo’s Quincy data center, opened in 2007, is one of three the company owns and operates in the country.
Data centers house servers that store digital data, handle email, manage instant messages and run applications for computers. Yahoo uses backup generators powered by diesel engines to keep servers functioning in case of power outages.
The Washington Department of Ecology is seeking comments on the updates to Yahoo’s original permit that was issued in 2011. With the updated permit, Yahoo would be able to operate an additional 25 backup diesel generators.
The concern is that diesel engine exhaust contains fine particles that can cause health problems for people who are exposed frequently and at high enough levels. The permit includes conditions to protect the public from air pollution including fuel limits and specified hours of operation for generators.
The revised permit can be viewed at Quincy City Hall or at the Quincy Public Library. It also is available online.
Written comments and questions should be addressed to Kari Johnson, Department of Ecology, Air Quality Program, 4601 N. Monroe, Spokane, Wash. 99205.
Comments and questions also can be emailed to Johnson at kari.johnson@ecy.wa.gov.

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