NYS Governor's Awards for Pollution Prevention - International Paper
International Paper, Ticonderoga
International Paper-Ticonderoga Mill is a large manufacturer of printing and copy papers. Products produced by the mill are used in advertisement, book papers, forms printing and other office and business uses. The facility, located on Lake Champlain in Essex County, employs over 900 people and produces over 850 tons of paper per day.
Through a voluntary effort to reduce potential dioxin formation in the plant discharge, the mill has reduced elemental chlorine use in its pulp bleaching operations in the past few years. This effort culminated in 1996 as the company spent over $7 million to completely eliminate the use of elemental chlorine as a bleaching agent. The process change, known as elemental chlorine free (ECF) bleaching, eliminates the potential formation of dioxin compounds in mill effluents.
Methodologies and Procedures
International Paper accomplished pollution prevention improvements through a series of operational changes and capital improvements beginning in 1988. These changes involved material substitution, process modifications, and capital equipment installations that represented a significant investment by the company in its Ticonderoga operation.
Installation of a pressure diffusion washer, at a cost of $5 million, was completed in late 1989 to reduce the amount of spent cooking chemicals which carry over from the pulping operation to the bleach plant of the mill. The cleaner brown pulp requires less chlorine to be bleached and thus reduces chlorine emissions from the mill's bleach plant scrubber system.
Improved supervisory (setpoint) computer controls were implemented to better control chlorine chemical addition rates. Process data and information from an automatic pulp brightness sensor located at the end of the first bleaching stage were used to improve control of chlorine addition rates, thus using the chemical more efficiently with fewer emissions.
In 1992, process and chemical modifications were implemented to further reduce chlorine use. The temperature of the bleaching reactions was raised to increase the efficiency of the chemical. Hydrogen peroxide and oxygen were added to the bleaching sequence to substitute for chlorine in the process.
Extended delignification (modified cooking technique for pulp, resulting in lower lignin-content pulp product) was implemented in 1994. By removing lignin prior to bleaching, less chlorine was required for bleaching the pulp, and emissions were reduced.
In late 1996, the Ticonderoga Mill took the final step in its chlorine reduction project - eliminating the use of elemental chlorine in the bleaching operation. New equipment was installed to increase the mill's production of chlorine dioxide and this bleaching chemical was used to substitute for 100 percent of chlorine use in the bleach plant. Total capital investment for this project was $7 million.
The conversion to ECF bleaching has eliminated the potential for the formation of dioxin compounds in the bleach plant effluent. The mill has also reduced chlorine and chloroform emissions.
The ECF project helps the mill meet pending EPA Cluster Rule waste water regulations. ECF has been determined to be EPA's Best Available Technology Economically Achievable (BAT) for pulp and paper mill bleaching operations.
Implementation of ECF has improved safety at the millsite. Chlorine is a hazardous gas that is strongly corrosive. Because the material is typically handled in gaseous form, there is a potential for leaks and employee exposure. Eliminating chlorine gas from the process has eliminated this hazard.
Chlorine is shipped in 90-ton railcars to the mill. Elimination of chlorine as a bleaching chemical has reduced hazards associated with potential emergency releases at the facility and also reduced the potential for a hazardous material emergency from railcar traffic in the surrounding community. Local emergency planning committees have been able to modify their response plan to account this change.
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This page was last modified March 8, 1999