Another dirty little secret

Saving information on a remote website comes with a price.  Many data centers rely on dirty energy sources to backup their storage facilities, especially diesel engines.  The engines must be run monthly to assure their ability to run during a power outage.  There are so many diesel engines permitted in Quincy (220) that the data centers must coordinate their engine operations to avoid violating the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).  Only the Vantage Data Center voluntarily offered to use pollution control technologies.

Some of the world’s wealthiest corporations have located in Quincy and refused to pay for the cost of add-on controls to reduce pollution.  Washington State law requires the use of Best Available Control Technology (BACT) for every source of pollution, but Ecology and these very wealthy industries are claiming that the engines themselves are BACT.

More Information – Sierra Club

What everyone needs to know about diesel emission testing and manufacturer guarantees.  First, regulations under 40 CFR 89.406 require that an engine be warmed up for 30 minutes before testing. This essentially exempts the startup emissions, i.e., “cold start”, from regulation.  “Cold Start” emissions are significant for NOx, CO, VOCs and PM.  Exempting startup emissiions is prohibited under the Clean Air Act.  Additionally, these same regulations require that malfunctions not be considered in the emission test results.  Congress prohibits exempting startups, shutdowns and malfunctions (SSM) from emission calculations.  EPA’s rules governing diesel engine certification is therefore flawed and in violation of the CAA.


Driving into Quincy black puff smoke can be seen in the air to the left in this photo. Beasley Hills are barely visible.


Characteristic haze caused by diesel.


Dell engine running during inversion.

Microsoft engines starting up…
Ecology didn’t consider “cold start” emissions when permitting Microsoft and others until we raised the issue.