As indicated in our letter of September 5, 2013, the Demerara Distillers Limited carried out a detailed review and investigation of the issue(s) raised relating to the soot problem in Diamond and hereby attach the report on our findings for your information:
“Demerara Distillers Ltd. reacted with much concern at the letter captioned ‘Soot problem in Diamond’ [SN, August 30] that was referred to us by your publication, and set about to assiduously investigate the matter.
“While we were not able to directly locate the letter writer, we did visit and speak with multiple residents in First Avenue of the Diamond new housing scheme, as well as in the old housing area just off the public road (which are closest to our operations), and were met with the following findings:
None of the residents we spoke to were affected by the soot problem as described, but some residents in the old housing area did have incidents of dust incursion.
“The nature of the dust (fine powdery black particles) was very different from the chimney stack produced at our operations (coarse, blackish grains) since our boiler burners were retrofitted for dual oil/gas firing (with more than 50% being biogas which does not produce soot). This suggests that the source of the black soot might be different from our boiler operations.
“Judging from wind speed and wind direction, along with the coarser size of our exhaust particles, it is unlikely that they would be carried to First Avenue without also affecting the old housing area.
“A more studied analysis of industrial enterprises on both the east and west banks of the Demerara River does reveal the possibility of fine black dust particles being carried from the West Bank from upwind industrial operations whenever the wind reverses from its usual north-easterly direction. Moreover, the chimney stack from which that dust is emitted is sufficiently tall and the particle size is sufficiently small for the dust to remain suspended and be carried for long distances by the wind before making ground-fall. This begs the paradox that sometimes the most culpable suspect is not always the most obvious one.
“In spite of the foregoing, DDL is willing to engage further with the letter writer and other residents with a view to bringing this matter to full closure.
“In closing, it is worth noting that our constant challenge operating in a zone does not appropriately segregate industrial, commercial and industrial activities. Despite struggling with the attendant risks and impacts on our operations from this non-ideal urban zoning, we do our utmost to cope with, and where possible, remedy such effects. More importantly, as a socially responsible corporate citizen, we establish strong protocols for counteracting any such impacts on nearby community residents.”