August 30, 2004

Comment period begins for pulp mill air quality permit renewal application

New Brunswick's Department of Environment and Local Government last week initiated a 180-day public review process for an application to renew the air quality operating approval for the Lake Utopia Paper mill near St George, New Brunswick. The facility's current five-year air quality operating approval expires March 12, 2005.

Lake Utopia Paper, a division of JD Irving, manufactures corrugating medium from a mixture of two fibre types. The primary component is virgin fibre produced from hardwood chips using a neutral sulfite semi-chemical (NSSC) pulping process. The remainder is made from recycled cardboard. Initially commissioned in 1971, the mill operated as Fundy Forest Products until JD Irving purchased it in 1973 and renamed it Lake Utopia Paper. The plant produces approximately 518 tonnes per day of finished corrugating medium.

The mill complex operated by Lake Utopia Paper is considered a source of air emissions under the air quality regulation of New Brunswick's Clean Air Act and thus is required to apply for and obtain an air quality operating approval from the Department.

The operation of the facility poses a number of potential environmental impacts from air emissions. Sources and substances of concern include: particulate matter (PM), sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOX), carbon monoxide (CO) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the steam plant; SO2 from the absorption tower; VOCs from the sulfite digester and paper machine dryer; and nuisance issues such as odour, noise and dust. The plant has a full range of abatement measures in place to control emissions from each stage of production.

During the term of the current approval, the department notes that Lake Utopia Paper has had no warnings or orders issued, nor have there been any prosecutions related to air quality. The facility has been in full compliance with current approval requirements relating to emission limits, monitoring and reporting, and emergency response.

The public comment period runs to December 21, 2004. All comments should be submitted in writing. Information about obtaining documentation or submitting comments is available on-line at www.gnb.ca/0009/0355/0005/.

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