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Irving Pulp and Paper honoured for environmental improvement


April 22, 2003
By Pulp & Paper Canada

Irving Pulp and Paper of Saint John has been recognized by the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperat…

Irving Pulp and Paper of Saint John has been recognized by the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) – the NAFTA environmental watch-dog group – for achieving the second highest decrease in surface water discharges in North America. During the CEC’s recent five-year review period (1995-2000), Irving Pulp and Paper reduced water discharges by 2,768,706 kilograms. These results are published in the newly released CEC report entitled, “Taking Stock 2000 – North American Pollutant Releases and Transfers” (April 2003).
“This environmental achievement is a tremendous tribute to the teamwork, commitment and skill of the men and women at Irving Pulp & Paper,” said Jim Irving, President of J.D. Irving, Limited. “No other kraft pulp mill in the world has pioneered the world first approach to pollution prevention that this team has.”
To meet government regulations, most mills built conventional secondary treatment lagoons. Treating pollution after it has exited the mill pipe in a secondary treatment lagoon has been the standard technology, enabling mills to meet regulations with limited costs. Irving Pulp & Paper patented new technology to reduce and recycle waste-water, setting it apart from all other pulp mills in the world.
Reverse osmosis, the same simple system used by municipalities and homeowners to purify drinking water has been applied on a massive scale at Irving Pulp and Paper – a world-first application to filter water used in the pulp making process. In a traditional home filtering unit, the system may consist of one or two membranes. At Irving Pulp & Paper, 210 membranes on 5′ x 10″ spools remove 10-15 gallons of concentrated filtrate each minute. The filtered water is recycled in the mill to be reused in the process. In 1988 there was no recycling of water at the mill and 30,000 gallons of water was required to produce each ton of pulp. Today, Irving Pulp and Paper is recycling over 2,000 gallons of water per minute and the mill’s water consumption has been reduced by over 40%.
The world first pollution prevention technology has also meant proven benefits for aquatic ecosystems and fish health. Reverse osmosis has played a significant role in lowering pollution levels in the mill, and in an important scientific discovery, independent university researchers have discovered that Irving Pulp and Paper’s new system has removed compounds responsible for endocrine disruption in fish. Endocrine disruption is a global environmental issue affecting normal hormonal processes in humans and wildlife. Potential effects include mild to severe reproductive problems. The reverse osmosis system eliminates Irving Pulp & Paper’s potential for endocrine disruption in fish at Reversing Falls.
“The CEC results are great news! Irving Pulp & Paper is world class in its approach to environmental performance,” says Jim Brewster, Manager of Irving Pulp and Paper. “I’ve worked at mills in both Canada and the U.S. and this operation is second to none. A team of 370 employees at Irving Pulp & Paper spent four years moving the technology in the pulp and paper industry way ahead of its time. It feels good to be part of a team that has done something that no other pulp mill in the world has done.”
The Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) is an international organization created by Canada, Mexico and the United States under the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC). The CEC was established to address regional environmental concerns, help prevent potential trade and environmental conflicts, and to promote the effective enforcement of environmental law. The Agreement complements the environmental provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The report is available online via the CEC web site at www.cec.org

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