After listening to neighbors concerns at previous hearings, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has issued an air permit to Pacific Wood Laminates on Railroad Avenue in Brookings.

The Title V permit, issued on Oct. 16, allows for an increase in production for the existing plywood mill from 120 million square-feet a year to 200 million.

The permit requires a decrease from the 1977-78 baseline emissions rate of 281 tons a year in particulate matter to 211 tons, a 70 ton decrease.

It also requires a decrease from the baseline rate in fine particulate matter from 205 tons a year to 189 tons, a 16 ton decrease.

The permit allows an increase in sulfur dioxide from 1.5 tons to 29 tons, a 27.5 ton increase. Nitrogen oxides could increase from 37 tons to 76 tons, a 39 ton increase.

Carbon monoxide will be allowed an increase of 98 tons over the baseline rate of 216 tons to 314 tons. Volatile organic compounds will be allowed to increase by 31 tons over the baseline rate of 58 tons to 89 tons.

According to the DEQ, the mill was inspected on Aug. 20, 1997, Nov. 6, 1997, and Nov. 16, 1998, and found to be in compliance with permit conditions.

During the prior permit period, the two most recent complaints were about waste particles.

One was the result of a plugged blowpipe, and the other was from cleanup activities. The DEQ said both complaints were resolved.

Tom Peterson, of the DEQs Medford office, said he visited Brookings on Oct. 17 and went over the new permit with the applicants to make sure they fully understand the requirements.

I think they do, said Peterson. The new requirements should be in force by now, he said.

Peterson said the DEQ received quite a few comments before and during a public hearing held in Brookings, and four or five more after the hearing.

Residents were particularly concerned about damage to their cars and houses caused by the particles, as well as allergy problems linked to the material.

Peterson said the permit was approved as originally proposed, except for a few administrative changes.