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AbibitiBowater’s Fort Frances mill halts production due to effluent problem


January 21, 2010
By Pulp & Paper Canada

AbitibiBowater has indefinitely shut down operations at its Fort Frances, Ont., mill after the mill’s ef…

AbitibiBowater has indefinitely shut down operations at its Fort Frances, Ont., mill after the mill’s effluent treatment system exceeded it daily biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) limit on Jan. 19.

Jean-Philippe Cote, director of public affairs and government relations with AbitibiBowater, reported in the Fort Frances Times on Jan. 20, said mill’s effluent treatment system at the lagoon exceeded its daily BOD limit due to the cold weather.
“Because of that, we had to shut down the mill to be in accordance with applicable laws and regulations,” he explained. “We’re currently working with internal and external experts on the best plan to address the situation.”

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The newspaper reports that AbitibiBowater must investigate the incident and report to the Ministry of Environment. Cote said it’s not known how long the mill will be shut down, or how many employees will be affected.
Ministry spokesperson Kate Jordan said the company has informed the MoE of three exceedences of the daily effluent limit for BOD so far this month.

Jordan told the newspaper that effluent testing is done both at in-house and off-site labs, and said Abitibi is conducting an internal investigation regarding its in-house lab.
“The lab that they used in-house showed different exceedence levels than the samples they sent off-site to a laboratory,” she remarked.
“So what the company is going to do because of that is conduct an investigation reviewing their in-house lab practices and any kind of quality assurance or quality control practices that need to be in place.”
Jordan said the MoE also has asked the company to do some additional monitoring at the plant.
The mill employs about 565 workers, and currently produces NBSK market pulp. The mill’s paper machine for commercial printing papers was shut down last fall.


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